Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Rosenstein: I Wouldn't Fire Mueller From Russia Probe Without 'Good Cause'


"I learned early on in my time as acting [solicitor general] that there was no point of ever thinking of second-guessing Michael on a matter of federal criminal law, because he just knew more than I did or could ever know", Dellinger said.

But testifying in the Senate Tuesday, Rosenstein said he is confident that Mueller will have "the full independence he needs" to investigate thoroughly. In his testimony, Rosenstein made it clear that he would not follow a presidential order to fire Mueller unless he thought there was a good cause.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said via email, "Chris speaks for himself". Mr Gingrich said he is troubled by Democratic donations of Mr Mueller's picks to help lead the probe.

Trump also had other issues on his mind on Tuesday as reflected in his tweets, the Russian Federation probe among them, as he sought to deflect attention towards Hillary Clinton and the investigation into her use of a private email server that came up during fired FBI director James Comey's testimony last week.

He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not involved in the Russian Federation probe and has not been briefed on it since his recusal. Rosenstein has served as acting attorney general for the Russian Federation investigation since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from that investigation in March. "And I'm not going to speculate on what he will or will not do", Sekulow said.

Rosenstein says it would be inappropriate for him to discuss Sessions' recusal and adds, "we don't talk about the subject matter of investigations while they are ongoing". Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president's agenda for months to come - a prospect that has Democrats salivating.

But expressions of discontent with Mueller are bubbling up nonetheless.

Ruddy said the ethics behind Mueller's presence are concerning considering how he was appointed to be special counsel. He added that fundraising records show some of the lawyers whom Mueller selected for his team have contributed to Democrats. If Trump were to make such a move, he would have to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

Issuing such a threat could constitute obstruction of justice by the president.

Trump slams reports about obstruction of justice investigation: "Phony story"
Robert Mueller is seeking interviews with three Trump administration officials who weren't involved in Trump's campaign. Comey stopped short of directly accusing Trump of obstruction, however.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr Mueller, declined to comment on Mr Ruddy's remarks. He served two additional years beyond his 10-year term, to ensure stability during a transition period in President Obama's national security team.

Anxiety about the probe - and fresh concerns about the political leanings of some of the attorneys involved - is percolating in the West Wing of the White House. The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: "a blanket public exoneration". "I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Ruddy said.

"I'm not a flak for the White House".

Firing Comey and then Mueller would leave Trump with the reputation of a man who will keep dismissing anyone serious about conducting an honest investigation.

Trump reportedly became aware of the longtime relationship between Mueller and Comey after being alerted to reports on Breitbart News and other conservative media outlets.

Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller.

Ruddy said, however, that doing so would "be a very significant mistake".

Information for this article was contributed by Sari Horwitz, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post; and by Julie Bykowicz and Jill Colvin of The Associated Press.

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