President Donald Trump on Friday denied reports published Thursday by the New York Times that he ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller in June, calling the allegations "fake news."
What did he say?
Trump, during comments made from Davos, Switzerland, where he's in attendance at the World Economic Forum, denied that he ordered Mueller's firing in June.
His response? Quite succinct.
"Fake news," Trump said. "Fake news. Typical New York Times fake stories."
What's the history?
According to the Times report, Trump ordered Mueller's firing in June, but called everything off when his own counsel threatened to resign, persuading him to back off.
The report alleged that Trump ordered Mueller's firing because he believed several conflicts of interest were undermining Mueller's objectivity:
First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, had prompted Mr. Mueller, the FBI director at the time, to resign his membership. The president also said Mr. Mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Finally, the president said, Mr. Mueller had been interviewed to return as the FBI director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.
The report added that when Trump told White House counsel Donald F. McGahn to give Mueller's firing orders to the Department of Justice, McGahn reportedly refused on the grounds of creating an unwanted political melee within the White House.
McGahn reportedly said he would resign rather than hand the order down to the DOJ.
Trump, as a result, purportedly backed down.
Trump on Wednesday declared that he was looking forward to being interviewed by Mueller as part of his Russian collusion investigation.
"I am looking forward to it, actually," Trump told reporters. "I'd love to do it."
He added, "Here is the story: There has been no collusion whatsoever. There is no obstruction whatsoever. And I am looking forward to it."
Muller will interview Trump over allegations that his administration colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump has denied any collusion. Russia has done the same.
A date has not yet been set for the Mueller-Trump interview.