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Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June, reversing course after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign, the NY Times' Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report.

Why it matters: "The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice," per the Times.

Trump's justification for ordering him fired
  • Trump cited a "dispute years ago over fees at Trump National golf club."
  • The fact that he was working at the same law firm that "previously represented the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner."
  • The fact that Mueller had interviewed to be FBI director shortly before being appointed special counsel.
Two big things
  • McGahn told senior officials that firing Mueller would be "catastrophic" for Trump's presidency and raise questions about obstruction of justice, per the Times.
  • "Another option that Mr. Trump considered in discussions with his advisers was dismissing the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, and elevating the department’s No. 3 official, Rachel Brand, to oversee Mr. Mueller. "
Mini timeline
  • May 9: Trump fires Comey
  • May 17: Rosenstein appoints Mueller special counsel
  • June: Trump orders Mueller fired

Worth noting: The Washington Post reported on June 14 that Mueller was investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice.

Ty Cobb, Trump's White House lawyer, declined to comment for the Times' story.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
10 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
30 mins ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

A critical race theory founder says he's being inundated with threats

Richard Delgado. Photo: Courtesy of Richard Delgado

Richard Delgado, one of the founders of the critical race theory movement, tells Axios he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages since the coordinated, conservative campaign against critical race theory began.

Why it matters: Educators across the country — even some elementary school teachers — have faced harassment and threats over the past year over lesson plans that teach about system racism in the U.S.