The Mueller Report:
On January 25, 2018, the New York Times reported that in June 2017, the President had ordered McGahn to have the Department of Justice fire the Special Counsel. According to the article, “[a]mid the first wave of news media reports that Mr. Mueller was examining a possible obstruction case, the president began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation.” The article further reported that “[a]fter receiving the president’s order to fire Mr. Mueller, the White House counsel… refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead.” The article stated that the president “ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.” After the article was published, the President dismissed the story when asked about it by reporters, saying, “Fake news, folks. Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story.”
The next day, the Washington Post reported on the same event but added that McGahn had not told the President directly that he intended to resign rather than carry out the directive to have the Special Counsel terminated. In that respect, the Post story clarified the Times story, which could be read to suggest that McGahn had told the President of his intention to quit, causing the President to back down from the order to have the Special Counsel fired.