Even as his staff tried to discourage him

From a few days ago, the Times on Donald’s desperate thrashings.

Last month’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia enraged President Trump. Yet, at least initially, he holstered his Twitter finger and publicly said nothing.

But behind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe…

It’s a little bit like a psychological horror movie, those unhappy people cooped up with the lethal out-of-control manchild.

[P]eople close to Mr. Trump say he is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind about Mr. Mueller if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised. And his ability to endure a free-ranging investigation, directed by Mr. Mueller, that could raise questions about the legitimacy of his Electoral College victory, the topic that most provokes his rage, will be a critical test for a president who has continued on Twitter and elsewhere to flout the advice of his staff, friends and legal team.

Because he’s so much smarter than they are.

The president, when asked by the pool of reporters covering a midday meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House whether he supported Mr. Mueller, gave no answer, even though he often uses such interactions to make headlines or shoot down stories he believes to be fake.

That may have been by design, according to a person who spoke to Mr. Trump on Tuesday. The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Yes, that should definitely work.

Angered by reports in Breitbart News and other conservative news outlets that Mr. Mueller was close to Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump in recent days has repeatedly brought up the political and legal implications of firing someone he now views as incapable of an impartial investigation. He has told his staff, his visitors and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced that Mr. Mueller, like Mr. Comey, his successor as director of the F.B.I., was part of a “witch hunt” by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office.

But while the president is deeply suspicious of Mr. Mueller, his anger is reserved for Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia inquiry, and especially for Mr. Comey. Mr. Trump was especially outraged by Mr. Comey’s admission last week that he had leaked a memo with details of his interactions with the president in hopes of spurring the appointment of a special counsel.

That Mr. Comey, such a very bad man.

While the president’s aides have sought to sow skepticism about Mr. Mueller, whom they interviewed about the possibility of returning to the F.B.I. job the day before he accepted his position as special counsel, few have advocated his termination, reflecting the recognition that Mr. Trump’s angry reactions to the congressional and F.B.I. investigations now underway are imperiling his presidency.

The pushback also represented growing willingness among staff members to try to keep Mr. Trump from making damaging mistakes — an important internal change in a White House dominated by a president who often demands obeisance.

For all the talk of how no one in the West Wing tells the president “no,” many people do — though often unsuccessfully.

No, Donald, no, put the Twitter down, bad, nasty.

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