Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed support on Tuesday for special counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who now leads a broad probe of claims that people linked to President Donald Trump colluded with Russian interests during the 2016 election season.
Speculation about whether Mueller would be removed was sparked on Monday after a friend of the president, Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, said during an interview on PBS NewsHour that he thought Trump is "considering perhaps terminating the special counsel".
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noted during a Senate hearing Tuesday that he, and not Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsWhite House: Trump "has no intention" to fire Mueller Sessions decries "detestable lie" Despite drama and innuendo, Sessions hearing goes nowhere MORE, was the one with authority to hire and fire Mueller. The White House clarification has come amidst reports that Trump is contemplating firing Mueller. During the Watergate investigation President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating a campaign of political spying and sabotage launched by a Nixon re-election committee.
"If there were not good cause, it would not matter to me what anybody said", he said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led one line of attack with a tweet that said "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".
Trump can not directly dismiss Mueller.
But Ruddy on Tuesday opened a new line of questions about Mueller's impartiality - the fact that Trump had considered Mueller for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's job before he was named special counsel.
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"I think that he should be more cognizant of making sure that the people who come to work with him are non-partisan, for his own credibility", Bennett said of Mueller. Rosenstein said Tuesday that Mueller has his full backing to conduct an independent investigation.
White House staffers made a concerted effort to talk Trump down from ordering that Mueller be fired, the paper said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Rosenstein would not answer questions Tuesday about his role in Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, May 9.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on Monday that "Chris speaks for himself", but declined to comment further. I knew him before that, and I have confidence in Mr. Mueller, ' the attorney general said.
Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Russian Federation during the presidential campaign, and Comey and others have testified that there is no evidence to the contrary.
Spicer had said that Ruddy was at the White House Monday to meet with White House aides, but did not speak with the president.
Gingrich also said Trump is confident that Mueller will find he did nothing wrong, but Gingrich worries. Trump later said he was thinking about "this Russia thing" as he made a decision to dismiss him because he considered claims that Russian interference in the election influenced it in his favor to be bogus, an excuse by Democrats to account for his stunning upset of Clinton.