This morning “Fox and Friends”, otherwise known as President Trump’s Most Trusted Advisers, responded to the recent New York Times story that Donald Trump planned to fire Robert Mueller last June. The hosts, after questioning the story (which their own network had confirmed) basically shrugged their shoulders. Their take: who cares?
Fox & Friends on Trump trying to fire Mueller: "Well, the president says it's fake news, that happened last June, it's something we have to tell you about because it's a headline on the NY Times. What do you think about that? Do you even care?" pic.twitter.com/4nPB5sv6Fs
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) January 26, 2018
You gotta love it. “Well, the president says it’s fake news, that happened last June, it’s something we have to tell you about because it’s a headline on the NY Times. What do you think about that? Do you even care? Something you probably do care about is immigration.”
By the way, if you care about immigration, Trump is proposing a giant amnesty. So there’s that.
Andrea Ruth noted earlier this morning how Sean Hannity opened his show last night ridiculing the New York Times story. Then Hannity had to comically acknowledge that, yes, sources are confirming that did indeed happen. Hannity’s sudden backtrack was apparently prompted by Ed Henry’s story saying quite clearly that, according to Fox News’s own source, the story had validity:
President Trump told top officials this past June that he wanted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but was talked out of doing so by White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides, a source close to the White House told Fox News late Thursday.
Andrea had the Hannity video but I can’t resist showing it again.
Sean Hannity: The New York Times is trying to distract you. They say Trump tried to fire Mueller, but our sources aren’t confirming that!
Sean Hannity, minutes later: Alright, yeah, maybe our sources confirm Trump wanted to fire Mueller. But so what? That’s his right. Anywho… pic.twitter.com/yUIt7Un56d
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 26, 2018
It’s the greatest Emily Litella moment since Lindsey Graham’s hilarious 180 on whether Trump is a kook and unfit for office:
I guess the Fox fan base didn’t like Henry’s story, because this morning, Fox is backtracking:
Fox last night: Ed Henry says "a source close to the WH telling Fox the NYT is accurate." Fox this morning: John Roberts says "I'm told the president never told McGahn to fire Mueller, and McGahn never threatened to quit over it." pic.twitter.com/SfCgShXMzJ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 26, 2018
Trump may have been floating a trial balloon: how would people react to the firing of Mueller?
If so, the message Trump is hearing is: his most diehard fans would be just fine with it. They have all supported the administration’s campaign to discredit the FBI and Mueller.
Still, it’s hard to see how the notion of firing Mueller squares with Trump’s (foolish) statement that he is willing to talk to Mueller. My guess is that Trump is so anxious to see the probe end that he’s not contemplating firing Mueller. Trump probably sees an interview with Mueller as the light at the end of the tunnel. (You know the old saying about that light being the headlamp of an oncoming train.) But when Trump inevitably lies in that interview — if he is foolish enough to go ahead with it — the smearing of Mueller and the FBI will help blunt the force of a report to Congress that documents those lies in detail.
Exit question, as Allahpundit says: didn’t Fox and Friends once warn Trump that it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, or did I imagine that? I could swear it happened, but the closest thing I could find is this piece saying that their general view was to let the investigation play out. Did any of them say anything stronger than that? Let me know in the comments if you remember any such thing.