Deputy AG wouldn't fire Mueller if unlawful

It should be noted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday morning and said he is the only person who can remove Mueller from his position.

Trump allies in the conservative press have increasingly argued in recent days that the president should fire special counsel Robert Mueller - and on Monday night, a friend of Trump's said on television that he'd heard (through aides) that the president was considering doing just that.

Ruddy said that, from what he can tell, firing Mueller is "a consideration the President has had because Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel".

"I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, but I also think the basis of his investigation is flim-flam", he said.

"You're suggesting that in the entire country there are no Republican attorneys that Mueller might have hired", he added, "I don't give the benefit of the doubt to somebody who could only hire Democrats but claims we ought to trust him". Trump can rescind the regulation that establishes the burden of "good cause" for such a firing, or he could simply fire Rosenstein and install someone more to his liking.

Rosenstein said that he is the only one now charged with possibly firing Mueller and that he does not see the required "good cause" to do so. House Speaker Paul Ryan was only the most senior Republican to vouch for Mueller on Tuesday.

Sessions, a close campaign adviser to Trump and the first senator to endorse him, stepped aside from the investigation in early March after acknowledging he had spoken twice in the months before the election with the Russian ambassador.

Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey worked closely for years in the George W. Bush administration, when Mueller was FBI director and Comey was deputy attorney general.

"I appointed him. I stand by it. and I am going to defend the integrity of that investigation", he said. Gingrich said he is troubled by Democratic donations of Mueller's picks to help lead the probe. "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". A special counsel is much harder to fire.

PBS's Judy Woodruff reported Monday that Trump friend Chris Ruddy told her after visiting the White House that Trump is "considering perhaps terminating" Mueller - a decision that would set off a massive political backlash.

He also added that he does not believe a special counsel is necessary. "Why do we need a special counsel now?" In response to a question about a hypothetical presidential order, he says he's "not going to follow any orders" he doesn't believe to be "lawful and appropriate".

COLLINS: If President Trump ordered you to fire the special counsel, what would you do?

"Chris Ruddy speaks for himself", Spicer said.

Can Trump really fire Robert Mueller? Rosenstein has the authority to appoint whoever he wants, independently of the White House - which is what he did when he appointed Mueller. Ryan said during an interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Mueller is assembling a high-powered team of Washington legal talent, including Michael Dreeben, a former Justice Department lawyer who has argued 100 cases before the Supreme Court, and Andrew Weissmann, chief of the Justice Department's fraud section who oversaw corruption investigations including the Volkswagen cheating probe.

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