Trump friend floats possibility of his firing special counsel in Russian probe

"As long as I'm in this position, he will not be fired if not for good cause", he said. That decision would fall to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who testified Tuesday in a Senate budget hearing that he would only fire Mueller for good cause and has seen no evidence of that.

The friend, Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media, who was at the White House on Monday, said on PBS NewsHour that Mr. Trump was "considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel".

Ruddy also claimed that Mueller interviewed with Trump as POTUS was interviewing possible Federal Bureau of Investigation director candidates, just a few days before being named special counsel by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Such a firing must come from the attorney general, according to the Code of Federal Regulations, which would be Rosenstein, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself. "I think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently". As he has already said earlier in the day, Rosenstein is not involved in the investigation and does not know any details regarding what's going on.

Replying to a question from Sen.

Gingrich also said Trump had phoned him Monday night, and left him with the impression that Mueller's job isn't on the line.

"The chain of command for the special counsel is only directly to the attorney general - and in this case, the acting attorney general", he said. He told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "I don't think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator".

"Chris speaks for himself", said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy White House press secretary.

Ryan argued Mueller must be allowed to carry on his investigation "because of what [Trump] did with Comey", referring to the president's decision to fire the former FBI director over the Russian Federation investigation. Ryan said, "I don't know his team".

Mr Ruddy said the President was weighing whether to dismiss Mr Mueller because of concerns about conflicts of interest.

On Twitter, Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to Trump, called the appointment of a special counsel "nonsense", suggesting it's "delusional" to believe Mueller would be fair, less than a month after praising the appointment as "a superb choice".

Justice Department rules prohibit the dismissal of a special counsel without cause.

Ruddy later confirmed that he and the president hadn't discussed the matter personally.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.

  • Larry Hoffman