Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Trump Friend and Adviser Says President 'Considering' Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller


The expansion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation would represent the clearest legal threat to date for Trump, who has long maintained that he is not personally under investigation - and who reportedly pressured former FBI Director James Comey to say so publicly.

The responsibility for appointing (or theoretically firing) Mueller lies with Rosenstein because his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself in March from all investigations involving Russian Federation and the 2016 elections.

If Trump instructs Rosenstein to dump Mueller, it would evoke memories of 1973, when the two top Justice Department officials, Elliott Richardson and Bill Ruckelshaus, resigned rather than obey President Richard Nixon's order to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor conducting the Watergate investigation.

Last night, a longtime friend of President Trump, Christopher Ruddy, said the president is considering firing Mueller.

Allies of the President cast doubt on the idea that Mr Trump would take such a drastic step, and officials said Mr Ruddy had not met Mr Trump directly while visiting the White House on Monday.

Those calls have escalated since Comey cryptically told lawmakers last week that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election.

But Stephen Gillers, a New York University professor who specializes in legal and judicial ethics, said the Mueller interview with Trump presented "no conflict whatsoever". "I think he's weighing that option".

But no. The president's friends are now pressing the argument that Mueller must go, too. "If so, I infinite dare (Trump) to fire the special counsel", he tweeted.

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But he added: "The challenge is now how to become the best side in the world and we are already doing a lot of work to do well if we get to the finals".

Hours after the interview, White House press secretary Sean Spicer released a statement that did not deny the claim, but said, firmly yet evasively, "Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue". "With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorised to comment".

During a hearing on Tuesday before a joint House and Senate appropriations subcommittee, Rosenstein was asked whether he had seen any evidence of that.

"He didn't recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy regarding appropriate contacts with the White House", Sessions said.

Now Mr. Gingrich has been joined in this chorus by a Trump confidant and golf-buddy, the President of Newsmax, who says the President is contemplating firing Mueller. Sessions told senators on Tuesday that he'd recused himself because he was part of Trump's campaign. "I know. I wrote the rules".

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior declined to comment on the possibility of Trump seeking to remove Mueller.

Prominent radio host Mark Levin wrote on Facebook that "Mueller must step aside", while commentator Ann Coulter said there was no point in keeping him after Mr Comey confirmed that Mr Trump was not under investigation.

"What's he done to be fired", Graham said Monday.

So that would leave such a decision to Rosenstein, who just appointed Mueller on May 17 to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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