White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

Posted June 17, 2017

Because Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation over his connection to Trump's campaign and his undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador, it was Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special counsel to lead the investigation.

"If there were not good cause, it would not matter to me what anybody said", he said. Again, if the president-I'd say this to the president and all the people around him.

Amid reports that US President Donald Trump was considering firing the special counsel overseeing the Russian Federation investigations, a senior Justice Department official said that he - and not the President - is the only official empowered to dismiss the prosecutor and that he sees no reason to do so. US Justice Department regulations outline that a special counsel can be fired by the US attorney general "for cause".

Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein was praised for the Mueller appointment. "One of my sources reached out to me just before we went on air, and they said there's mass hysteria in the West Wing about this".

Mueller's potential dismissal arose Monday evening when Trump's close friend Christopher Ruddy, who is the CEO of Newsmax, told PBS News Hour: "I think he's (Trump) considering perhaps terminating the special counsel". That, to me, is the smartest thing to do, the best thing to do, and that's what I think hopefully will happen.

"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.

Rosenstein is the only person who can fire Mueller under current Justice Department regulations - though those regulations could theoretically be set aside. Sessions has recused himself from the investigation. Ruddy is long-time friend of the President.

And the Daily Caller reported on Tuesday that included an interview with Mueller. "But the president is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside", Mr Sekulow said.

White House staffers made a concerted effort to talk Trump down from ordering that Mueller be fired, the paper said.

But Ruddy on Tuesday opened a new line of questions about Mueller's impartiality - the fact that Trump had considered Mueller for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's job before he was named special counsel. Rather than calling the President to tell him that, Ruddy took to a medium where he knew Trump would listen: TV.

The discussion on Mueller's investigation came after some of Trump's closest allies - including one of his sons - began questioning whether the wide-ranging probe is becoming too political.

On Monday Ruddy told PBS that he believed that the President was considering the possibility of termination of the special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ms sanders also said says the president was pleased with attorney general Jeff Sessions' evidence to Congress on Tuesday.

The White House did not immediately issue a comment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller met on Capitol Hill with the leaders of the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday afternoon, a long-awaited connection as lawmakers and federal investigators plot a path forward on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.