Trump Allies Try to Discredit Special Counsel Mueller After Initial Praise

The White House has refuted the idea that President Trump is considering dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller, who was recently appointed to oversee the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Ruddy later clarified to ABC News that Trump is "considering asking [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein to terminate Mueller".

Under current Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, not the president- though those regulations could theoretically be set aside.

The meeting comes a day after lawmakers questioned Justice Department officials about the probe and Mueller's independence, and after a friend of Trump said the White House was considering firing Mueller.

CNN cited a source close to Trump as saying the president was "being advised by many people" to not fire Mueller, who led the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2001 and 2013.

"Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair", Gingrich tweeted.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's outside attorney Marc Kasowitz, said in a statement to CNN: "The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

Another conservative commentator, Byron York of The Washington Examiner, also called for Mueller's ouster, saying that the former FBI Director's longtime friendship with his successor at the FBI, Comey, caused a conflict of interest. He is nearly certain to be asked about the possibility of the president firing Mueller. About one hour later, Ruddy appeared on PBS Newshour and during that interview, he told anchor Judy Woodruff that he believed Trump was already "considering" firing Mueller.

Lawyer Jay Sekulow, a member of Mr Trump's legal team, has also refused to rule out Mr Mueller's possible sacking. "Look who is hiring".

Mueller has been widely respected by many in Washington from both sides of the aisle, but not everyone is a fan.

"Chris speaks for himself", a senior administration official told the Daily Caller in an email.

"I think he's weighing that option", he said referring to Trump. Senior Correspondent Mike Causey tells you what you need to know before you go.

"If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller", Schiff said in a tweet. "Don't waste time trying to undermine one of your few allies".

They say Mr Trump did not collude with Russian Federation and see the investigation as a politically-motivated sham that handicaps his ability to execute his agenda, according to one person who advises the White House on how to handle the probe.

  • Jon Douglas