And a person familiar with Trump's thinking said Tuesday morning that it's "unlikely" the President will fire Mueller, but conceded that it's often hard to predict Trump's behavior. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who named Mueller to lead the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation, testified there was no reason to dismiss him, and said that he alone has the authority to do so. So that is what I would do. "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without cause", he added.
Trump ally Chris Ruddy has caused quite a stir over the past 24 hours.
Trump can not directly dismiss Mueller. It was unclear whether his tweet about being under investigation was based on direct knowledge or new media reports that suggest Mueller is examining whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey. The newspaper noted Mueller had requested interviews with CIA Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director.
The questioning about whether the White House was seeking to oust Mueller came as top conservative boosters of Trump sought to delegitimize Mueller, a former FBI director who took the special counsel job after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
The White House appeared blindsided by it, but took hours to address it, triggering speculation it was, one, a plan indeed and Moody was testing the waters for Trump, and two, it was an attempt by a anxious administration to intimidate the counsel and the formidable team of lawyers he was putting together.
The authority to appoint a special counsel fell to Rosenstein, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia case because of his failure to disclose during his January confirmation hearing pre-election meetings he had Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
"Director Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately", Rosenstein said.
Despite the speculation, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that "while the president has the right to [fire Mueller], he has no intention to do so".
"Obstruction of justice is really a very hard crime to make out", Starr said on "New Day".
In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.
"With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment", he continued. Still, in light of these new reports, many are likely wondering what would actually happen if Trump tried to fire Mueller. "Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", an official said.
"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Ruddy told PBS NewsHour Monday night, though he went on to say he thinks, personally, it would be a bad idea.
Ruddy told CNN on Tuesday that Mueller and Trump "had a private conversation" and suggested it was "unethical" before the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director was named special counsel. Whether or not public confidence would be restored would depend on the reactions of DOJ officials and Republicans in Congress, whose moves can not necessarily be anticipated.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on the issues Gingrich and others have raised.
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