Trump has 'no intention' of firing special counsel Mueller: White House

17 June, 2017, 11:29 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • White House Trump won’t sack special counsel Robert Mueller

"The President did talk with him in the days before he was named special counsel", Ruddy told PBS on Monday in the same interview where he said Trump was "considering terminating" Mueller as special counsel.

In a panel discussion over the weekend on "Fox News Sunday", former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Mueller's investigation "a witch hunt."

Rosenstein said that because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation matter, Mueller could only be fired by Rosenstein himself.

But expressions of discontent with Mueller are bubbling up nonetheless. "I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don't think there is a justification [for a special counsel]". He added that fundraising records show some of the lawyers whom Mueller selected for his team have contributed to Democrats.

"You have to hope that common sense would prevail", Schiff said.

Rumors of Mueller's possible removal swirled after CNBC Washington correspondent Kayla Tausche tweeted that she'd seen Chris Ruddy, CEO of the far-right outlet Newsmax, leave the White House's West Wing.

Even before Ruddy's remarks Monday, other prominent Republicans had been questioning Mueller's mandate and his fitness to carry it out.

"My position is that Mueller is a man of integrity", Ruddy said.

Anxiety about the probe - and fresh concerns about the political leanings of some of the attorneys involved - is percolating in the West Wing of the White House.

Ruddy is a known confidante of the president, and he told Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour that Trump is "considering perhaps terminating" Robert Mueller as special counsel.

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The White House did not immediately respond to questions about Ruddy's claims.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not explicitly endorse Sessions' appearance, saying in response to a question, "We're aware of it, and we'll go from there".

And deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said simply: "Chris speaks for himself".

Asked about Trump's own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves". The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

As Mueller builds his legal team, Trump's allies have begun raising questions about the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's impartiality, suggesting he can not be trusted to lead the probe.

Gingrich struck a different chord in an interview with CBS' "This Morning" on Tuesday, flatly denying that Trump is considering firing Mueller.

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported encounter with Kislyak in April 2016, at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech.

Trump can not directly dismiss Mueller.

CNN's April Ryan on Monday described "mass hysteria" in the White House over concerns the president is considering terminating special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein to oversee the Russian Federation investigation. The Act made it hard for the attorney general to fire that special counsel. If Trump were to make such a move, he would have to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Sessions told senators on Tuesday that he'd recused himself because he was part of Trump's campaign.

Either way, as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) noted, the president could face a stern reaction from Congress if he tried to get Mueller out of the picture. "I think he's weighing that option".

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