President Trump pushed the idea Robert Mueller had a conflict of interest over golf clubs fees, but he didn't
Golf and Politics

President Trump pushed the idea Robert Mueller had a conflict of interest over golf clubs fees, but he didn’t

Shortly after former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, President Donald Trump and his team of attorneys alleged Mueller had conflicts of interest and was ineligible to investigate potential Trump campaign ties to Russia and subsequent acts to stymie an investigation.

Their point of contention? Mueller had been a member of Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., and he had left the club over, in their description, a dispute over country club fees.

Now that the William Barr-redacted version of the Mueller report has been made public, we now know the truth -- from the Special Counsel himself.

In the Mueller report, the Special Counsel's office describes how Trump sought to impugn Mueller with this accusation.

In the days following the Special Counsel's appointment, the President repeatedly told advisors, including [former Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus, [former adviser Steve] Bannon, and  [former White House counsel Don] McGahn, that Special Counsel Mueller had conflicts of interest. The President cited as conflicts that Mueller had interviewed for the FBI Director position shortly before being appointed as Special Counsel, that he had worked for a law firm that represented people affiliated with the President, and that Mueller had disputed certain fees relating to his membership in a Trump golf course in Northern Virginia.

Bannon found Trump's efforts particularly weak.

Bannon recalled telling the President that the purported conflicts were ridiculous and that none of them was real or could come close to justifying precluding Mueller from serving as Special Counsel.

And Bannon told the President that the golf course dispute did not rise to the level of a conflict and claiming one was "ridiculous and petty."

However, the Special Counsel explains in a footnote the truth.

In October 2011, Mueller resigned his family's membership from Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, in a letter that noted that "we live in the District and find that we are unable to make full use of the Club" and that inquired "whether we would be entitled to a refund of a portion of our initial membership fee," which was paid in 1994.

About two weeks later, the controller of the club responded that the Muellers' resignation would be effective October 31, 2011, and that they would be placed on a waitlist to be refunded on a first resigned first refunded basis in accordance with the club's legal documents.

So there you have it: a pretty normal resignation from a country club.

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