Report: Mueller Has a Letter Trump Wrote Explaining Why He Wanted to Fire Comey

The letter was protested by White House counsel and never sent.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a draft letter written by President Donald Trump that outlined his reasons for firing then-FBI director James Comey, the New York Times is reporting. The draft letter, which was co-written by senior adviser Stephen Miller, was never sent to Comey, thanks to the opposition of White House Counsel Don McGahn, who warned that the document was potentially problematic. From the Times:

The contents of the original letter appears to provide the clearest rationale that Mr. Trump had for firing Mr. Comey. It is unclear how much of Mr. Trump’s rationale focuses on the Russia investigation, although Mr. Trump told aides at the time he was angry that Mr. Comey refused to publicly say that Mr. Trump himself was not under investigation. Mr. Comey later said in testimony to Congress that the president was not under investigation.

The report on Friday again undermines the White House’s initial account of the events that lead to Comey’s dismissal. The White House originally claimed that Trump fired Comey because of a recommendation from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. That same week, Trump essentially blew up that narrative, telling NBC’s Lester Holt that it was his idea alone, not Rosenstein’s, to get rid of Comey. 

“I was going to fire him regardless of recommendation,” he said. “He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”

The Washington Post has also confirmed the existence of the letter. Sources familiar with its contents said one of the reasons Trump listed was his frustration over Comey’s refusal to publicly say he was not under federal investigation.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.