Deputy AG Defends Integrity Of Russia Probe

On Trump's plane ride home after a trip to Wisconsin, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters he "has no intention" of firing Mueller, even though she maintained that "the president has the right to".

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.

President Donald Trump smiles during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

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.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing for sharp questions from his former Senate colleagues about his role in the firing of James Comey and his Russian contacts during the campaign.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Patrick Leahy say Sessions should be responsible for answering questions in a public hearing about his policies. But both appearances, however, are being overshadowed by Sessions' public appearance at a Senate intelligence committee hearing. Richardson refused and resigned, as did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.

Burr says the committee staff met with Johnson on Monday.

Justice Department rules prohibit the dismissal of a special counsel without cause. "I have confidence in Bob Mueller".

White House officials sought to downplay Ruddy's comments.

"The chain of command for the special counsel is only directly to the attorney general - and in this case, the acting attorney general", he said. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday that he isn't involved in any secret plan to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Feinstein also asked if Rosenstein had an estimate for how long the investigation will take.

"I appointed him", Rosenstein said.

CNN's April Ryan on Monday described "mass hysteria" in the White House over concerns the president is considering terminating special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein to oversee the Russian Federation investigation. Lindsey Graham, Rosenstein said that having given political donations is not a disqualifier.

"With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment", he continued.

"I personally think it would be a very significant mistake".

Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing. If there were good cause, I would consider it.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said.

Graham: Is giving political donations a reason to disqualify somebody for serving in the special counsel's office.

Under questioning from Sen.

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.

The comment came in response to questions from Democratic Sen.

Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, went so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller from his position as special counsel. After responding that he had not, Rosenstein reassured Shaheen of his confidence in the process.

Under Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by the deputy attorney general rather than the president, although those regulations could theoretically be set aside. Sessions told senators on Tuesday that he'd recused himself because he was part of Trump's campaign. Anyone who engages in these baseless attacks about Mr. Mueller's character is only heaping dishonor upon themselves.

The White House, however, said Trump and Ruddy have never discussed the issue. It is unclear whether Mueller was interested in returning to that job.

Sanders declined to describe Trump's current opinion of Mueller, who was named special counsel last month by Rosenstein. Still, he said: "Bob Mueller did a great job as Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

  • Zachary Reyes