Trump may sack special counsel in Russian Federation inquiry, says friend

He added that "if there were good cause, I would consider it".

"Either of those actions was unthinkable to us back in 1999, for we understood that President Richard Nixon's attempt in this regard ultimately led to his downfall", Katyal wrote, referring to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in October 1973, after they refused to follow President Richard Nixon's orders and fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, Archibald Cox.

The responsibility for appointing (or theoretically firing) Mueller lies with Rosenstein because his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself in March from all investigations involving Russian Federation and the 2016 elections.

Katyal wrote that, while Mueller's investigative authority looks fairly broad as it was outlined by the Justice Department last month, he does not have the "sweeping powers" afforded to someone who is now in government and has been confirmed by the Senate. "Didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel".

"Director Mueller is going to have the full independence he needs to conduct that investigation, " Rosenstein said.

"As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause", Rosenstein said.

Conservative media mogul Christopher Ruddy, a friend of the president breathed life into rumors that Trump was thinking about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The White House has denied those claims.

Collins' question wasn't the only time the Mueller investigation came up during Rosenstein's hearing on Capitol Hill. 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. Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

"What's he done to be fired", Graham said Monday. "I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don't think there is a justification [for a special counsel]".

Shaheen said she has many questions about the federal investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, including about Sessions' contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Members are using the event as a chance to grill Rosenstein about other topics, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Rosenstein's decision to tap Mueller as special counsel.

Still, Spicer's remarks irked Ruddy, who says he should not have been asked to release a statement saying that he never spoke to the president because he never claimed to have spoken with the president about Mueller.

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".

But both appearances, however, are being overshadowed by Sessions' public appearance at a Senate intelligence committee hearing.

  • Salvatore Jensen