Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: Robert Mueller Won't Be Fired Without Cause

Given that as Federal Bureau of Investigation director Comey was overseeing the probe into Russian Federation, and its possible collusion with the Trump team, the firing has led to questions about potential obstruction of justice. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein what he would do if the president asked him to fire Mueller. He added later: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause", which he said he would have to put in writing.

The White House, however, said Trump and Ruddy have never discussed the issue.

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the subcommittee's top Democrat, said she also was "troubled" by Sessions' cancellation.

"I'm not able to comment on conversations with high officials within the White House", Sessions said. White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban.

Asked if he had confidence in Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead the Russian Federation investigation, Mr Sessions replied: "I have confidence in Mr Mueller but I am not going to discuss any hypotheticals", noting that he was not involved in the Russian Federation investigation. Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing its own probe into the Russian Federation matter, tweeted, "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

Because Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation over his connection to Trump's campaign and his undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador, it was Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special counsel to lead the investigation.

Sessions told senators on Tuesday that he'd recused himself because he was part of Trump's campaign.

Sessions "abruptly canceled" his appearance before the committee, as well as a scheduled appearance before the House appropriations Committee, over the weekend, according to Leahy and Sen.

"If there were good cause, I would consider it", Rosenstein testified.

Ryan replied that Trump should allow the Mueller probe to move forward.

He assured lawmakers Tuesday that he would follow the regulation concerning the special counsel, which says that Mueller can only be fired for good cause. "I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don't think there is a justification [for a special counsel]". And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is acting in that capacity.

On Mr. Rosenstein's first standard - legality - there is an argument that Mr. Trump would have the authority to dismiss Mr. Mueller, though doing so would not be simple.

"I know what we're investigating and (Sessions) does not", Rosenstein said, trying to clarify Sessions' role.

Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime Trump friend, said during an interview the president is considering "perhaps, terminating the special counselor".

Said Ryan: "I know Bob Mueller".

President Donald Trump's close friend told PBS on Monday night that the president was "weighing" whether or not to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russia's election interference.

Ryan repeated his talking points: "I think the best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job".

  • Zachary Reyes