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The New York Times on Thursday reported that Trump told White House lawyer Don McGahn to fire Mueller in June, shortly after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed the special counsel to investigate ties between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.
In order to justify his order, according to the Times, Trump cited multiple instances of what he perceived to be conflicts of interest. One conflict, Trump reportedly argued, involved a years-old dispute at Trump National Golf Club that led Mueller to give up his membership.
McGahn threatened to resign rather than carry out the order, the Times said, and Trump backed down from his attempt to remove Mueller from the investigation.
Some Democrats were quick to label the incident an instance of obstruction of justice.
"If that's not obstruction of justice, I don't know what is," said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. "It's reminiscent of President Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre."
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., told CNBC in a phone interview that the biggest threats to Mueller's investigation are "the president and the president's supporters in Congress and the Senate."
Some Republicans argued that Mueller's continued presence on the case disproves the obstruction charge.
"Unless they can get Don McGahn on the record verifying the story this looks like more salacious tabloid journalism. And by the way, he didn't fire him – that would have been news," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
Others echoed Trump, who was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, when he called the report "fake news."
"As far as I am concerned the president has addressed these accusations," said Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. "This morning he called it fake news, and I side with President Trump."
Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., went a step further, questioning whether "the New York Times is trying to distract attention from the explosive FISA memo" — a reference to a classified memo from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., purporting to cast doubt on the special counsel's integrity by uncovering alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Democrats weren't impressed with that line of reasoning.
"I don't know how to respond to people who don't believe in journalism or facts," said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif, said in an interview. "The reality is, the reporting was sourced. It's clear that he wanted to do this."
CNBC reached out to hundreds of House and Senate offices to gauge the reaction on Capitol Hill. Here are some of their responses: