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Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Rod Rosenstein: There's No Reason To Fire Special Counsel Mueller


The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Congress would not sit still if President Donald Trump made a decision to fire the special counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign.

The pushback also represented growing willingness among staffers to try to keep Trump from making damaging mistakes - an important change in a White House dominated by a president who often demands obeisance.

"No, because it's not necessary, the department is a hierarchy and so nothing gets to the attorney general about matters he's recused from unless they come through my office", Rosenstein said. Ruddy then wrote a column about the conversations and recounted, "When I mentioned Obama "denials" about the wiretaps, he shot back, 'This will be investigated, it will all come out".

"I think it was a good choice", McConnell, a Republican, told the Hill of the choice to appoint Mueller to oversee the FBI's growing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to some of Trump's campaign staff members.

Rosenstein was testifying in place of Sessions, who over the weekend canceled his own appearance before the committee and instead agreed to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He also told the senators, "I can assure you we're going to do the right thing and defend the integrity of the investigation".

Apart from Rosenstein and Sessions, the only confirmed Justice official is Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general, whom the Senate approved on a party-line vote.

Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, said on Tuesday: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause".

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Rosenstein: Why would the deputy attorney general have written a memo to Sessions that was "exclusively" about a matter from which Sessions was recused? Trump would have fired Comey for investigating the Trump-Russia issue, then dismissed Mueller for investigating the Trump-Russia issue. If accurate, the report would also indicate Trump still has no understanding of the position the appointment of a special counsel has placed him in.

When asked by the pool of reporters covering a midday meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House whether he supported Mueller, Trump gave no answer, even though he often uses such interactions to make headlines or shoot down stories he believes to be fake.

A true claim of a Comey "conflict of interest" would require proof that Mueller and Comey had a longstanding personal friendship that would clearly impede the impartiality of the special counsel.

Ruddy said in an interview Monday with Judy Woodruff of PBS, "I think he's weighing that option". Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Ruddy told CNN on Tuesday that Mueller and Trump "had a private conversation" and suggested it was "unethical" before the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director was named special counsel. He later noted that it was up to Mueller to determine whether the issue might be part of his investigation, adding he thought Mueller "ought to review that".

White House staffers have nonetheless sought to talk Trump down from the idea. The official demanded anonymity because the official was not authorized to be named discussing the deliberations.

Ruddy, an early donor to Trump's presidential campaign, was reportedly at the White House on Monday.

"Look, the president of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive. And I'm not going to speculate on what he will or will not do", Sekulow said.

Meanwhile, a chorus of Trump supporters, from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to commentator Ann Coulter, is assailing Mueller's independence.

"Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", an official said.

"When the day comes that our country can not rely on people to deliver the truth about whatever the subject is from positions of great authority and great reputations, like Mueller, and if we just dismiss those as not being not able to deliver us the truth about an issue we've got more problems than we think we have", Womack said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said via email, "Chris speaks for himself".

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