White House officials deny claim Trump seeking Mueller firing

Sen. Mark Warner               CBS News

Under Justice Department rules, Trump would seemingly have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to rescind department regulations protecting a special counsel from being fired for no good reason, and then to fire Mueller.

Rosenstein, who has the sole ability to fire Mueller given that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from matters relating to the investigation, told the panel he had seen no evidence of good cause for letting Mueller go and that he would not follow any theoretical order to fire him absent such evidence. "Look who he is hiring", tweeted former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser. We don't have to believe former FBI Director James Comey's account of Trump's threats and blandishments.

Both Republicans and Democrats came to dislike the statute, which they saw as permitting prosecutors to run amok in the Iran-Contra and Whitewater investigations during the Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton administrations.

Trump's allies have begun raising questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's impartiality - he's a former FBI director who has worked with fired FBI Director James Comey - and floating the idea that Trump might replace him.

He said he doubts Mueller can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation.

If Trump is wise, he'll leave Mueller in place and let this investigation run its course.

Ruddy originally shared his belief with PBS' Judy Woodruff on "PBS NewsHour" Monday after visiting the White House earlier. That, to me, is the smartest thing to do, the best thing to do, and that's what I think hopefully will happen. "The fallout from the firing of Mueller would likely be as explosive as (Richard Nixon's) firing of special counsel Archibald Cox in 1973". The official demanded anonymity because the official was not authorized to be named discussing the deliberations.

The government let the old independent-counsel law expire in 1999 - at that point even Clinton's tormentor, investigator Kenneth Starr, suggested the law needed to change. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue. But last night, as you said, The Washington Post published this story and today the president was tweeting - much more divisive tone.

A friend of President Trump on Tuesday accused White House press secretary Sean Spicer of trying to undermine him.

In February, after talking with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Ruddy told CNN that he didn't think the president was being well-served by chief of staff Reince Priebus. "I think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently".

But it has today been described as a "crime scene" following revelations the probe into Russia's interference in the U.S. election has been widened to include allegations President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice. I would say that Republicans in Washington are nearly unanimous in the opinion that to do that would cause a political firestorm that would be yet another self-inflicted wound of the president's own making.

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