Trump considering 'terminating' Russian Federation probe leader

Members are using the event as a chance to grill Rosenstein about other topics, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Rosenstein's decision to tap former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing that probe.

The White House clarification has come amidst reports that Trump is contemplating firing Mueller.

But a long-time friend of Mr Trump said the president was considering sacking Mr Mueller.

As billowing rumors that Donald Trump was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller engulfed Washington, temporarily overshadowing Tuesday's testimony at separate congressional hearings from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the president stood before a gaggle of reporters at the White House and refused to confirm his support for Mueller, fueling the spiraling speculation with a calculated goal.

No 2 official at US Justice Department told Congress that Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia's alleged interference in 2016 US presidential election, will have "the full degree of independence" he needs.

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Ruddy said on the program. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, couching the same advice in friendlier terms, said: "The best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job", adding that "the best vindication for the president is to let this investigation go on independently and thoroughly". "I do believe it would be catastrophic, and I do believe it would destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here", Senator Dianne Feinstein said.

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You may recall that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigative matters related to Russian Federation, and that it fell to the next-in-command, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to make the call to appoint Mueller.

Ruddy appeared to be basing his remarks, at least in part, on comments from Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump's legal team, who told ABC in an interview on Sunday (Monday NZT) that he was "not going to speculate" on whether Trump might at some point order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and adviser, supported firing Comey, but he has been less pugnacious lately, administration officials said. It may only be a matter of time before some of that attention is directed at Mr Mueller, however. Under the regulation, special counsel Mueller may be fired only for good cause. So how can they possibly be objective when investigating Trump, whom all Democrats despise right now? Sessions recused himself from Trump campaign-related investigations in February. Trump, who isn't typically shy about levelling criticism, especially on Twitter, hasn't commented on the longtime former Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

If Rosenstein took the high road, some critics of Trump hope that Congress could then rise to the occasion and hold the president accountable.

Tuesday morning, Trump supporter Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W. Bush's press secretary, again highlighted the issue of Mueller's probe being handled by attorneys who have donated mostly to Democrats, a message that Donald Trump Jr. quickly retweeted to his own 1.7 million followers. I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don't think there is a justification, and even though - I mean, here you have a situation... I don't think so. It's certainly theoretically possible that the attorney general could fire him but that's the only person who has authority to fire him. He has brought to the White House the values of a failed Atlantic City casino owner turned reality-TV star.

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