Betteridge’s law of headlines states that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered simply with “no.” However, this maxim was developed before the unending stupidity of the Trump Era, so it is not as ironclad a rule as was in seemingly saner times. To thoughtfully answer this legitimate question, I present to you, a possible admission by the President of the United States this morning.
Trump seems to suggest that there was someone responsible for him not firing Bob Mueller or Jeff Sessions, with the inference being that was a thing that nearly happened. His assertion that now former White House counsel Don McGahn did not stop him from doing so is likely in response to this New York Times report from earlier this year:
President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.
Trump announced McGahn's departure on Twitter yesterday, which reportedly caught the former White House counsel by surprise. This comes on the heels of another report a couple weeks ago that McGahn has been cooperating “extensively” with Robert Mueller's special counsel. Given Trump's litany of public complaints about the Russia investigation, one can't help but raise an eyebrow at the timing of McGahn's forced departure. Combine that with reports that Trump wants to pardon Paul Manafort and was willing to go above McGahn's head to do so, and there is enough firm reporting to seriously question whether Trump has already attempted to fire Jeff Sessions and/or Robert Mueller before this morning's tweet.
But we don't even need to rely on reporting to demonstrate Trump's mindset on this issue. The dummy has tweeted out plenty of evidence proving that he desperately wants to take control over the Russia investigation.
So if we just use the wording in Trump’s four tweets embedded in this column, we can conclude that Don McGahn was “NOT responsible for me not firing Bob Mueller or Jeff Sessions,” that “This is an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted,” and “Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!” As a result of all this, “At some point I may have to get involved!”
The New York Times reported that Trump tried to fire Mueller. Trump bullies his Attorney General on Twitter all the time, because he recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. Trump’s own words prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why Jeff Sessions is the target of his ire. The next logical question is, why would Trump make getting insulated from federal probes a requirement of his Attorney General?
Trump has provided more than enough first-hand evidence to seriously question whether he has attempted to fire both Jeff Sessions and Robert Mueller in an effort to shut down the “witch hunt!” Ultimately, unless we have tapes of Trump doing so, we cannot unequivocally state that Trump admitted today to trying to fire both Sessions and Mueller. But let me put this another way: given the litany of first-hand accounts that Trump has provided, would you bet your life savings against today’s tweet being an accidental admission of guilt? I sure wouldn’t, especially since he’s already admitted to obstruction of justice at least once, and now possibly twice.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.