White House Torn Over Mueller's Role as Pressure Grows

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Earlier in the day, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director he appointed as special counsel to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

"I think he is considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Ruddy, who leads the conservative news website Newsmax, said on PBS NewsHour.

2 official at Justice, also promised that the special counsel, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, would have the independence to pursue the investigation as he saw fit.

Chris Ruddy to @JudyWoodruff: President Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who he considered for another position.

Ruddy added, "I personally think it would be a very significant mistake".

Despite Spicer distancing the White House from Ruddy's allegations, Trump does have the power to sack Mueller. "(Attorney General) Jeff Sessions is recused here, so it would be up to (Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein, who was the person who just appointed Bob Mueller a couple of weeks ago".

Mueller also won votes of support Tuesday from the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both of whom said they have confidence in him. "I think he's weighing that option".

Yet it's a line of thinking that is making its way to the president's ears.

Here's why. According to the rules, technically only the attorney general can fire a special counsel.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Spicer said.

Ruddy, an early donor to Trump's presidential campaign, was reportedly at the White House on Monday.

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Apart from Rosenstein and Sessions, the only confirmed Justice official is Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general, whom the Senate approved on a party-line vote.

Asked about criticisms that some of the members of Mueller's team and his ability to conduct fair investigation, Ryan said he didn't know the team but said, "I know Bob Mueller".

"Mueller can be fired only for good cause, and I'm required to put that cause in writing".

His comments appeared to take the White House by surprise.

Rosenstein's testimony comes amid public statements from Trump confidants that the American president is mulling removing Mueller from the investigation.

Rosenstein would probably refuse.

Some have compared Trump's firing of then-FBI Director James Comey in May to the storied "Saturday Night massacre" that occurred during Richard Nixon's presidency. The president responded by saying Comey did not tell the truth.

Schiff told CNN's Anderson Cooper if Mueller was ousted, Congress would have to re-establish the Independent Counsel Act that expired following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

They say Mr Trump did not collude with Russian Federation and see the investigation as a politically motivated sham that handicaps Mr Trump's ability to execute his agenda, according to one person who advises the White House on how to handle the probe.

Mr. Trump, Ruddy said, "was looking at [Mueller] potentially to become the next Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

Gingrich's argument is more straightforward: Mueller is biased and unfair.

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