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White House Plays Down Talk of Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller

14 Juin 2017

Attorney General Jeff Session, right, and Vice President Mike Pence attend a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Senators on Tuesday questioned both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how the inquiry is being handled.

White House officials sought to downplay Ruddy's comments. "Whether he would do it is ultimately a decision the president makes", said Sekulow.

Christopher Moody, CEO of conservative news outlet Newsmax Media and a friend of Trump who has spoken for him before and bluntly, said in an interview on PBS that the president was "considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel" and added, "I think he's weighing that option".

Sessions says his recusal was not because he had done something wrong or was, himself, the subject of the investigation.

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Sen. The Department of Justice appointed the former FBI chief to lead the investigation into Russian Federation following the firing of James Comey by President Trump. "If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says". Trump called because "I have been very clear" about Mueller and the lawyers he's hired amounting to a "rigged game", Gingrich said.

He said he also does not believe President Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, despite reports Monday saying that he plans to.

Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing.

"As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without cause", he added. "If there were not good cause it wouldn't matter what anyone said".

A source close to Trump said the president is being counseled to avoid firing the special counsel.

Mueller and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey worked closely for years in the George W. Bush administration, when Mueller was Federal Bureau of Investigation director and Comey was deputy attorney general.

Deputy attorney general says he's the only one who can fire Mueller
In the memo in question, Rosenstein criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation . Gingrich also said Trump is confident that Mueller will find he did nothing wrong, but Gingrich worries.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders", Rosenstein responded. Should Rosenstein refuse, Trump could ask him to resign or fire him and direct his successor to fire Mueller. It's certainly theoretically possible that the attorney general could fire him but that's the only person who has authority to fire him. Consequently, he recused himself from any investigations into Russian Federation in March.

On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Paul Ryan offered some mild criticism of Trump's alleged plan to fire Mueller.

"If the president stepped in and ordered Rosenstein to fire Mueller, I don't think he would do it - and he would have to get someone else to do it", Buchanan, author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever", published by Crown Forum.

"There's a lot of smoke and there's a lot of alarm bells going off", Ryan continued. "He had a private conversation with the President on his views about all sorts of matters, potentially about the investigation, I don't know".

"I said that the President was indeed considering that".

In a Tuesday hearing on the Justice Department budget for the 2018 fiscal year, Sen.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, warned on Twitter that "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

But hours later, former House Speaker and Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich again bounced up what appeared to be a trial balloon, saying those who believe that the investigation is going to be "neutral" and "professional" are "delusional", and calling special counsels "very risky". Rosenstein wrote a memo to Sessions on Comey, which was then used by the administration to justify firing the director for his handling of the Clinton case. "They came to praise Donald Trump, not focus on the controversies engulfing him", Reuters reporters, barely able to contain its incredulity.

Rosenstein was testifying in place of Sessions, who over the weekend canceled his own appearance before the committee and instead agreed to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Sessions's comments came during his Senate testimony on whether he met privately with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at an April 2016 foreign policy event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.