The glaring problem with Trump’s dismissal of the Mueller story

"Typical New York Times fake stories."

CREDIT: SCREENGRAB
CREDIT: SCREENGRAB

During a brief interaction with reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday morning, President Trump was asked to respond to explosive new reporting about him ordering a White House lawyer to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June.

Trump blithely dismissed the story as “fake news” and took a shot at the New York Times — the outlet that broke the story.

“Fake news, folks, fake news,” he said. “Typical New York Times fake stories.”

But there’s an obvious problem with Trump’s suggestion that the New York Times is making stuff up. The Times isn’t the only outlet to report that Trump tried to fire Mueller — Politico, the Washington Post, and CNN all quickly corroborated the Times’ reporting. Even Trump’s favorite network, Fox News, reported that “Trump did have conversations about firing Mueller,” though it said those conversation “might not have amounted to an outright directive” to fire Mueller.

Trump’s dismissal of the story is also in tension with what Trump’s representatives told the Times. Instead of denying the story, Trump’s attorney, Ty Cobb, told the Times that “[w]e decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.” Trump representatives similarly declined to comment to Politico, the Post, and CNN.

A few hours after his interaction with reporters, Trump addressed the World Economic Forum. During a brief question-and-answer session, Trump attacked the media, saying, “It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.” His comments were received with boos and jeers.

As ThinkProgress detailed last night, in the seven months since Trump reportedly tried to fire Mueller, the president and other administration officials have repeatedly denied that Trump has ever even considered firing the special counsel.