“I think he’s weighing that option”, Ruddy told PBS “NewsHour” when asked if Trump would let Mueller continue in his role in the Russian Federation probe.
President Donald Trump smiles during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. He was alluding to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in October 1973 after they refused to follow Nixon’s orders to fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, Archibald Cox.
The White House was quick to dismiss Ruddy’s comments.
Andrew Wright, a professor of constitutional law at Savannah Law School, said Trump had the power to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.
Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who testified Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
Trump also had other issues on his mind on Tuesday as reflected in his tweets, the Russian Federation probe among them, as he sought to deflect attention towards Hillary Clinton and the investigation into her use of a private email server that came up during fired FBI director James Comey’s testimony last week. But he said the special-counsel regulations “require termination only for cause”, meaning Trump would have to convince Rosenstein that there are grounds to dismiss Mueller.
“At the same time, after Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey this month, many things once thought beyond the realm of possibility look less so now”, Katyal said. White House sources have told ABC News that the president is not seeking to fire Mueller, but a close confidante of Trump’s said Mueller’s ousting is under c.
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. He added that those powers were unavailable to Mueller and “stand as a reminder” that he “operates as a subordinate to the Justice Department, not as Rosenstein’s equal”.
A longtime friend of Trump, Chris Ruddy, first told PBS Monday that Trump was considering firing Mueller.
The White House, however, said Trump and Ruddy have never discussed the issue.
In an interview Tuesday morning on CBS, Gingrich said Trump is confident that Mueller will find he did nothing wrong. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.
The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions’ most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe. Sessions says he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump and members of Sessions’ staff were also in attendance.
“They’re clearly afraid of Mueller and his independence and the thoroughness of the investigation he’s likely to lead”, said Schiff.
Some of Mr Trump’s allies have begun questioning Mr Mueller’s credibility as the investigation intensifies.
As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he’s had with Trump.