Reports that President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June aren't all bad news.

To be clear, if those reports are true, it's discouraging though not surprising that Trump thought firing Mueller was appropriate. But it's good news that someone in the president's orbit exerted their influence to prevent him from actually pulling the trigger.

According to the New York Times, White House counsel Don McGahn "refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead," after Trump asked him to carry out the order. "Mr. McGahn disagreed with the president’s case and told senior White House officials that firing Mr. Mueller would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump’s presidency. Mr. McGahn also told White House officials that Mr. Trump would not follow through on the dismissal on his own. The president then backed off," the Times reported.

Trump's advisers are constantly questioned for serving in a White House marked by chaos, and for serving under a president seen as unstable by much of the Beltway. This story, however, should provide a measure of reassurance that Trump is responsive to at least someone on his staff, and that at least someone on his staff is willing to take a stand when clear lines risk being crossed.

Furthermore, if others in the White House are generally inclined to follow McGahn's example, it's an indication the president's circle may not be as uniformly sycophantic as some in media continue to insist.