Rosenstein Says He Won't Fire Special Counsel Unless There's Good Cause

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies about the Justice Department's budget before a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C

Mueller was appointed by US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US polls.

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House.

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

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, interrupted one question directed at the speaker on the topic, saying "you're creating a debate that's not happening". Former President Richard Nixon's attempt to remove a special prosecutor during his tenure led to the resignations of two top Justice Department officials amid the Watergate scandal. The interview was first reported by PBS. Trump's wife, Melania, has adopted a more temperate tone, telling her husband that she believed the appointment of Mueller would speed resolution of the Russian Federation scandal and expressing her view that he would be exonerated, according to two people with direct knowledge of her advice. Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont have sought an FBI investigation.

Rosenstein is charged with Mueller's fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation. That was not so, he said. He told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "I don't think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator".

The mere fact that we can take seriously that this course of action might be contemplated by Trump is a sign of how far down the road we have come to the weakening of United States democracy. "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising.

And deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said simply: "Chris speaks for himself".

In a major story, The New York Times claimed that Trump was angered by reports that Mueller was close to fired FBI Director James Comey and entertained the idea of firing the special counsel. Online news mogul Chris Ruddy said: "I think he's weighing that option". Trump, who expressed displeasure with Session's withdrawal from the case, wouldn't hesitate to apply pressure.

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In the interview, Mr Ruddy said Mr Trump had considered replacing Mr Comey with Mr Mueller, who served as Federal Bureau of Investigation director during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

"It's very clear that Comey hates Trump", he added. "If there were not good cause it wouldn't matter what anyone said".

His comments appeared to take the White House by surprise.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.

Asked in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing if there was any cause to fire Mueller, Rosenstein flatly replied: "No". "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

The president has railed against the Russian Federation investigation as a "witch hunt". He asserted that "I am protecting the right of the president to assert if it he chooses and there may be other privileges that may apply". "I never said I had a conversation", Ruddy said on CNN. I don't even read that carefully.

"It's a mistake to pretend that this is going to be some neutral investigation", he said. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked Sessions whether Trump records his conversations in the White House.

"It makes sense to point out any level of bias, to highlight any biases inherent in Mueller and this probe in order to force him to be transparent", Gingrich said.

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