Trump allies turn on special counsel Robert Mueller

Trump allies turn on special counsel Robert Mueller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he sees no reason why special counsel Robert Mueller should stop leading the probe into Russian interference in last year's US election.

A Trump friend who was spotted visiting the White House on Monday later told a PBS interviewer that the president was indeed mulling over firing Mueller.

He called because "I have been very clear" about Mr Mueller and the lawyers he has hired amounting to a "rigged game", Mr Gingrich said in an interview with news channel CBS.

Ruddy said he doesn't think Mueller should have taken the job due to what he considers to be conflicts of interest.

"With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment", White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NPR. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue.

Those calls have escalated since Comey cryptically told lawmakers last week that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election.

Asked about the Mueller chatter, Ryan said Tuesday that he'd only heard rumors but that the best thing for the president to do is allow himself to be vindicated by the results of the investigation. US Justice Department regulations outline that a special counsel can be fired by the US attorney general "for cause".

The effort to muddy the waters surrounding the investigation is coming amid growing White House concern that the probe could detract from the president's agenda for months or years to come.

Democratic senators repeatedly criticized Sessions for dispatching Rosenstein to testify today in his place about the Justice Department's budget to an Appropriations subcommittee. "I don't think the Chairman will invite the President, a man he campaigned for, because the role of the House Judiciary Committee right now is to protect the President at all costs; shielding the President from tough questions", he said. "I know for a fact that he was under consideration and that the President did talk with him in the days before he was named special counsel".

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However, the White House has denied his claims.

NPR reported on Friday that Mueller was being considered to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation before being named special counsel.

Rosenstein would probably refuse.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the move would be a "disaster" and, he added, "There's no reason to fire Mueller".

"The FBI's leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal, " said Mark Corallo, spokesman for Trump's outside legal team.

On Monday, luxuriating in the glow of a keenly-trained bank of news cameras, Donald Trump presided over his first full Cabinet meeting, a ceremony described by New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush as "the most exquisitely awkward public event I've ever seen".

First and foremost, Trump can not actually fire Mueller.

The US president is suspected of seeking to stall the politically-explosive probe following his shock dismissal of the FBI chief James Comey, and allegations that he asked Comey to drop his investigation of a former aide.

In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. The president responded by saying Comey did not tell the truth.

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