Deputy AG Rosenstein: Special counsel will have 'full independence' for Russia probe

Still, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a Trump friend, suggested the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller from his position as special counsel.

High-profile supporters of President Donald Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign.

"Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation".

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.

Asked about criticisms that some of the members of Mueller's team and his ability to conduct fair investigation, Ryan said he didn't know the team but said, "I know Bob Mueller".

All of which makes Trump's efforts to belittle the investigation and move past it that much more hard.

The news comes one day after Rosenstein affirmed his support for the special counsel, despite recent reports that Trump was weighing Mueller's dismissal.

But after the evidence of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey last week, Mr Gingrich said he had changed his mind.

The White House has dismissed the Russian Federation investigation as a "hoax" and "witch hunt".

The talk about dismissing Mr Mueller appeared to be coming from Trump allies, including some close to White House strategist Steve Bannon, who are increasingly frustrated with the prospect of a long and winding probe. The person demanded anonymity to discuss strategy on the sensitive matter.

Ruddy originally shared his belief with PBS' Judy Woodruff on "PBS NewsHour" Monday after visiting the White House earlier.

Schiff told CNN's Anderson Cooper if Mueller was ousted, Congress would have to re-establish the Independent Counsel Act that expired following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Those questions were prompted after a friend of President Donald Trump said the White House was considering firing Mueller. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment", White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NPR. "Look who he is hiring", tweeted former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser.

But Ruddy may be floating the idea only to get it shot down; "Chris speaks for himself", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

It was not clear whether Mr Ruddy, who speaks to the president often, was basing his remarks on a specific conversation with him or entirely on Mr Sekulow's comments.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr Mueller, declined to comment on Mr Ruddy's remarks.

  • Larry Hoffman