Russia probe: Deputy AG wouldn't fire Mueller if unlawful
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 3:26
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was asked about news reports suggesting Trump was mulling letting Mueller go, but said he has not seen evidence he has cause to fire Mueller. Under the regulation, Special Counsel Mueller can be fired only for good cause, and I am required to put that cause in writing.
No good cause to fire Mueller Senate confirms Scott Brown as ambassador to New Zealand Senate push for new Russian Federation sanctions gains momentum MORE (D-N.H.) asked Rosenstein.
Although senior officials repudiated the assertion from Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy - that he "thinks" Trump is considering firing Mueller - the media was once again set ablaze with efforts to tie the Trump Administration to the Watergate scandal.
But he did note Tuesday morning in an email to Politico that a subsequent statement from White House press secretary Sean Spicer "doesn't deny my claim the President is considering firing Mueller" and that Ruddy never claimed to have spoken with Trump about Mueller.
Firing Mueller would be a politically explosive move that would raise new questions about Trump, whose dismissal of James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director generated accusations of obstruction of justice and led to Mueller's appointment.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein at a budget hearing Tuesday what he would do if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the US elections and possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign. I am confident that he has full independence.
Graham: And I don't know if I'll do that, but I've read some things that were - I don't think donations are disqualifying at all, but if you represented the Clinton Foundation or Clinton herself, that would be disturbing to me, but I'll take care of that.
If you think the firing of FBI director James Comey set off a storm of protests and nervous backtracking by anxious Republicans, wait and see what happens if Trump actually fires the special counsel now tasked with the Russian Federation investigations, Bob Mueller.
Rosenstein may be asked to address the issue when he speaks at a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday morning.
"He actually does not know what we're investigating and I'm not going to talk about it publicly", he said.
Under Justice Department regulations created to ensure a measure of independence for the special counsel, Rosenstein may only fire Mueller for "good cause".
"I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, but I also think the basis of his investigation is flim-flam", he said.
Ultimately, Ryan thinks Trump will heed the warnings and not move to fire the special counsel.
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.
"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. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Rosenstein said, "Senator, I'm not going to follow any order unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders".
Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. "And I'm not going to speculate on what he will or will not do".
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, warned on Twitter that "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".