President Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller in December, which is the second known time the president has attempted to get rid of the special counsel, according to the New York Times. which cites interviews with eight White House officials and other people close to Trump. The sources say Trump demanded the firing because he was enraged by media reports that Mueller had crossed his "red line" and subpoenaed Deutsche Bank seeking records on the financial dealings of the Trump family. The insiders say that Trump backed down after lawyers contacted Mueller's team and determined that the reports were what the president would describe as "FAKE NEWS." The Times reported earlier this year that the chief White House lawyer refused Trump's order to fire Mueller last June.
The Times report heightened worries that Trump will fire Mueller out of anger at Monday's raid on the offices of Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer. After the raid—the result of an investigation Mueller passed to the Manhattan US attorney—Trump said it was a "disgrace" and told reporters he hadn't made up his mind yet about firing Mueller, CNN reports. Republicans, who fear firing Mueller could cause chaos, have been trying to talk him down, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say he doesn't see a need to pass legislation to protect him from being removed, the Hill reports. "I don't think that’s going to happen, and that remains my view," McConnell said Tuesday. "It's still my view that Mueller should be allowed to finish his job. I think that's the view of most people in Congress." (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)