Sessions refuses to disclose conversations with Trump, drawing repeated questions from senators

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director he appointed as special counsel to oversee an investigation into potential co-ordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

But Ruddy opened a new line of questions about Mueller's impartiality - the fact that Trump had considered Mueller for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's job before he was named special counsel.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not explicitly endorse Sessions' appearance, saying in response to a question, "We're aware of it, and we'll go from there".

According to a report in the New York Times, President Donald Trump had already planned to fire Robert Mueller after he learned the special counsel is friends with fired FBI Director James Comey. But Comey has testified under oath that in a private meeting, Trump raised the investigation of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn - part of the larger Russian Federation probe - and said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go". "What I think the American people ought to know is that their government is working", he said.

He said he was untroubled by claims Trump tried to persuade Comey to back off the investigation, saying those revelations only emerged after Comey was sacked and wanted to defend himself. Comey later testified that he'd authorized a friend to disclose to the media his notes on conversations with Trump about the investigation, in hopes that it would lead the Justice Department to name a special counsel.

"It's a mistake to pretend that this is going to be some neutral investigation", Gingrich said.

The president toured a classroom full of tool-and-die machines that simulated a factory floor, accompanied by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, faced questions before the Senate Intelligence Committee on potential Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Schiff told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "I don't think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator". The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president's agenda for months to come - a prospect that has Democrats salivating. She asked whether he has seen "any evidence of good cause" to fire Mueller.

The talk about dismissing 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.

Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller.

"Look, the president of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive".

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. Still, he added, "I can't imagine that that issue is going to arise". Ruddy later confirmed the comment to CNN. Ruddy did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification. "Don't waste our time".

Ruddy originally shared his belief with PBS' Judy Woodruff on "PBS NewsHour" Monday after visiting the White House earlier. But then the president himself said he had made up his mind prior to receiving the recommendations from the two top lawyers at the Department of Justice.

"When the day comes that our country can not rely on people to deliver the truth about whatever the subject is from positions of great authority and great reputations, like Mueller, and if we just dismiss those as not being not able to deliver us the truth about an issue we've got more problems than we think we have", Womack said.

  • Larry Hoffman