"If President Trump were to try to replicate [former President Richard] Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in addition to Mueller, Congress must unite to stop him - without respect to party, and for the sake of the nation", he said.
"Witch hunt' is how Trump characterizes the probe into Russia's election interference and possible ties to his campaign associates". Another official disputed that Rosenstein pushed for Sessions' recusal.
Part of the revelations regarding the Russian Federation investigation and the firing of Comey has been that Trump repeatedly pushed top intelligence officials to say in public that Trump was not personally under investigation and that there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation in its supposed interference in the 2016 election.
The Post reported that Mueller and his team are interviewing senior intelligence officials about Trump's role, including Dan Coats, director of national intelligence; Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, who recently left his role as Rogers' deputy. Comey, whom Trump fired in early May, said in Senate testimony earlier this month that the President spoke to him privately on February 14 and asked him to drop the bureau's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's alleged ties to Russian Federation. Comey's firing likely will be part of that probe.
Mr Rosenstein has been overseeing the Russian Federation probe since shortly after attorney general Jeff Sessions recused himself. But a department official said no one asked for the statement and Rosenstein acted on his own.
If Rosenstein recuses himself, Brand, a Trump appointee, would become the top Justice official overseeing Mueller's work.
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But a new worry about Mueller is taking shape.
Right-wing media backers of Trump have been preparing the ground for Trump to fire Rosenstein, Mueller or both. He said Trump's statement on Twitter Friday was specifically in response to a story in The Washington Post about the expanding probe into Russia's election meddling.
The Republican National Committee denounced the Washington Post report on Mueller now targeting Trump for a potential obstruction of justice charged, declaring, "This story is nothing more than an example of even more leaks coming out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and special counsel's office in an effort to undermine the President".
President Donald Trump put fresh pressure on the second-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department on Friday, raising concerns among the president's critics that Rod Rosenstein could be in danger of being fired, while others argued that if he stays he should recuse himself from his role overseeing the special-counsel probe that has engulfed the White House. As determined by the Supreme Court during the Watergate crisis of 1973-74, executive privilege can only be cited in relation to congressional investigations, since it stems from the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. Trump surely understands that would be a political disaster. These included House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Republican senators John Thune, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins.
Mueller continues to hire a team of lawyers, and with FBI investigators is gathering information that is widely expected to lead to a formal investigation into whether President Trump attempted to interfere in the investigation. "Absent the most extreme circumstances, the president would be singularly ill-advised to threaten, much less order, Mueller's firing".
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