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White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

17 June, 2017, 08:36 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

A longtime confidante of Donald Trump said in a television interview last night that the U.S. president was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now leading the FBI's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Additionally, Newsmax CEO and Trump confidant Chris Ruddy told PBS "NewsHour" Monday night that Trump was considering firing Mueller, which he said would be a "very significant mistake".

"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.

Regarding Ruddy's comments, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: "Mr".

Mueller was appointed special counsel after Trump fired former FBI director James Comey, who was heading up the investigation.

The authority to appoint a special counsel fell to Rosenstein, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia case because of his failure to disclose during his January confirmation hearing pre-election meetings he had Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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

The special counsel can only be fired for "good cause", and Rosenstein himself would have to put that justification in writing, he said. "I do believe he has a legal right to do it and I do think it was considered as an option, as the president's own attorney said".

"Time to rethink", he tweeted Monday, citing Mueller's hiring decisions and Comey's admission that he'd instructed a friend to share with reporters notes he'd taken of his private conversations with Trump in order to force the appointment of a special counsel.

Uber Vice President Emil Michael Resigns Amid Internal Investigation
He's also attracted controversy - a 2014 BuzzFeed report said he threatened to dig up dirt on journalists critical of the company. William Gurley and David Bonderman, two independent board members, are said to already be anxious about Kalanick's management.

Could the president get rid of the independent counsel leading the Russian Federation investigation?

It's true that the ex-FBI director is amassing a team that not only includes top investigative talent but also has a partisan tilt: Jeannie Rhee, Michael Dreeben, Andrew Weissmann and James Quarles are renowned in their fields and have made repeated donations to Democrats.

In launching these attacks, President Trump and his surrogates are trying to do to Mueller, and to Comey, what President Clinton did to Independent Prosecutor Kenneth Starr during the investigation into his administration in the 1990s.

A senior political writer for the newspaper sounded the alarm in a piece titled, "Is Robert Mueller conflicted in Trump probe?" "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorised to comment".

As Mueller builds his legal team, Trump's allies have begun raising questions about the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's impartiality, suggesting he can not be trusted to lead the probe.

Weeks ago, Gingrich had heaped praise on Mueller, hailing him as a "superb choice" for special counsel whose reputation was "impeccable for honesty and integrity".

He added, "I'm not going to follow any order unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders". Trump could conceivably then fire Rosenstein and keep issuing the order until someone carried it out.

A writer on the legal blog Lawfare said the president could even argue that the counsel is impeding his constitutional power over foreign affairs. And unless there was sufficient reason to fire Mueller, he offered, "it wouldn't matter what anybody said".

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