Investigators for special counsel will soon speak to senior intelligence officials

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of President Donald Trump's top allies, went after special counsel Robert Mueller in a Thursday morning tweetstorm, calling the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director "the tip of the deep state spear aimed at" Trump.

Close associates of Trump, including longtime confidante and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, have floated the theory that the president is considering firing Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

The Daily Beast reported a second senior administration official pointed to Trump's role in propagating the rumor he might fire Mueller, suggesting the leak to the Post on Wednesday might have been an unintended outcome of that move.

Rosenstein would not answer questions Tuesday about his role in Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, May 9.

And leading Republican legislators on Tuesday waved off the idea of firing Mueller, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying that his advice was to "let Robert Mueller do his job" and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing confidence in the special counsel.

Trump refused to respond to a reporter asking four times Tuesday whether he will fire Mueller, potentially trying to create some suspense. "He was preparing for the stop here today", said Sanders. Both Rogers and Coats said they weren't pressured by the Trump's administration.

"I personally think it would be a very significant mistake", Ruddy said.

I met Mueller only once, when he was assistant attorney general for the criminal division. Still, he said: "Bob Mueller did a great job as Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, says such a move would "be the last straw" for many in Congress and would have "echoes of Watergate", when President Richard Nixon dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox over Cox's subpoenas for White House tapes.

- Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) May 18, 2017Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. " he continued. "I think the president himself gave his own communications department a C-plus".

That's not an opinionated statement, by the way: When he was appointed, many Republicans, including Gingrich, had effusive praise for Mueller. "I talk to college students regularly who say to me, if say that they openly are for Trump, they get threatened".

Criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller used to be off limits.

  • Leroy Wright