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Deputy attorney general says he sees no reason to fire special counsel

Deputy attorney general says he sees no reason to fire special counsel”

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.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that while he feels "independent counsels are very unsafe", he doesn't think Trump should force Mueller out. That prompted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller - himself a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director - as special counsel the following week.

Ruddy said Mueller has some "conflicts" because his former law firm, Wilmer Hale, also represents Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, and her husband Jared Kushner.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, weighing in Tuesday morning, advised the White House and Trump to let the special counsel's investigation continue, and await vindication. Ruddy however, doubled down on the idea, telling NBC in a statement Spicer's statement was "bizarre" and doesn't deny his claim.

Ruddy appeared to be basing his remarks, at least in part, on comments from Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump's legal team, who told ABC in an interview Sunday that he was "not going to speculate" on whether Trump might at some point order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

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"Can you think of one thing that Trump could do worse than fire Bob Mueller?".

A personal friend of the President, Chris Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax, suggested the president was thinking about sacking Mueller. According to current regulations under which Mueller was hired, only the attorney general can fire a special counsel.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

The effort to muddy the waters surrounding the investigation is coming amid growing White House concern that the probe could detract from the president's agenda for months or years to come.

"I appointed him; I stand by that decision, " he said. If there were good cause, I would consider it, if there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says.

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Given that kind of support, a Democratic lawmaker, Ted Lieu, taunted the White House over the Mueller-firing chatter: "Double dare exists". Sanders said that while Mr. Trump has the right to fire Mueller, he has no intention of doing so.

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.

Rep. Mark Walker said Mueller is broadly respected by both Republicans and Democrats, although he noted that the respect isn't set in stone.

Rosenstein told senators at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing Tuesday that Mueller will have the "full independence he needs to conduct that investigation".

Even so, Gingrich said, Trump won't seek to dismiss Mueller because he's confident the probe will conclude he's done nothing wrong.

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In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again. Trump could conceivably then fire Rosenstein and keep issuing the order until someone carried it out.



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