White House denies Trump wants Mueller out, but heat's on

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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. "It wouldn't matter to me what anybody said".

Chris Ruddy, a friend of Trump's and the chief executive of Newsmax, a U.S. news outlet, went so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller. Justice Department rules prohibit the dismissal of a special counsel without cause.

But Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that "there is no secret plan [to remove Mueller] that involves me", USA Today reports. The Justice Department sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify about the budget instead.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein if he would fire Mueller if Trump asked him to.

Ruddy, an early donor to Trump's presidential campaign, was reportedly at the White House on Monday. Ruddy paid lip service to that being a "significant mistake", but followed immediately saying there is no justification for the special counsel. "I do believe it would be catastrophic, and I do believe it would destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here", Senator Dianne Feinstein said.

"You can raise those concerns" to both Mueller and the DOJ, Rosenstein told Graham. Sessions has recused himself from the investigation.

Trump refused to respond to a reporter asking four times Tuesday whether he will fire Mueller, potentially trying to create some suspense.

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"I spoke to three sources that are about as high as it gets in the White House over the past 12 hours and every one of them said the same thing".

Trump supporters such as Newt Gingrich and others have seemed to be greasing the wheel for the eventual ouster of Mueller.

Some of President Donald Trump's closest allies - including one of his sons - have begun questioning whether Mueller's wide-ranging probe is becoming too political, as the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election intensifies. "Because Comey makes so clear that it's the poison fruit of a deliberate manipulation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation director leaking to the New York Times, deliberately set up this particular situation".

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Ruddy said in a TV interview.

Ruddy was at the White House on Monday but did not meet with the president, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

"Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel". In 1973, Nixon turned to the third-ranking Justice official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, who fired Cox in his capacity as acting attorney general.

Ruddy appeared to be basing his assessment on comments by Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump's personal legal team, on ABC News on Sunday, according to the Post.