US President Donald Trump had reportedly ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be fired last year but backed off when the White House Chief Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit, said a media report.
The June 2017 episode came to Mueller's attention as he interviewed various White House officials during the probe into whether Trump obstructed justice in the Russia inquiry, said The New York Times.
The revelation came Thursday, one day after Trump slammed various allegations regarding the probe, circulating in the media.
"Here is the story: There has been no collusion whatsoever. There is no obstruction whatsoever," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
The NYT reported that White House counsel McGahn refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss Mueller last June - threatening instead to quit if the order was carried out.
Not only did McGahn disagree with the reasoning behind firing the special counsel, he also felt the results would be devastating to Trump's presidency.
McGahn felt it would further contribute to an appearance of obstruction, the report said.
Trump's lawyer Ty Cobb, however, did not comment on the development.
Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election including possible contacts with the Trump campaign.