- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump came close to firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller in December after reports that investigators had subpoenaed the real estate moguls bank records and other financial information from before his run for the White House

The president’s anger was fueled by reports that the subpoenas were for obtaining information about his business dealings with Deutsche Bank, according to interviews with eight White House officials, people close to the president and others familiar with the episode. To Mr. Trump, the subpoenas suggested that Mr. Mueller had expanded the investigation in a way that crossed the “red line” he had set last year in an interview with The New York Times.

The initial reports of the financial investigation turned out to be erroneous. They were fake. They were fake news.  Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal all ran with the story until finally issuing a correction and update. 

But, as is usually the case, the damage was done as cable news stations ran with the report with non-stop breathless coverage and analysis. 

Amazingly, the Times uses the incident not to condemn their profession and their colleagues for publishing false and damning reports about the president. No, the Times believes this report is actually more evidence that Trump runs a chaotic White House

Mr. Trump’s quick conclusion that the erroneous news reports warranted firing Mr. Mueller is also an insight Mr. Trump’s state of mind about the special counsel. Despite assurances from leading Republicans like Speaker Paul D. Ryan that the president has not thought about firing Mr. Mueller, the December episode was the second time Mr. Trump is now known to have considered taking that step.

As Democrats and many Republicans in Washington rush to cable news studios to gravely warn the president to not even think about firing Mueller, look for the media to continue to stretch the boundaries of journalistic integrity and norms by running any story they think might tempt or inspire Trump to dismiss the Special Counsel. 


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