Firing Mueller would be a stupid, reckless act even for Trump


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller, who's leading the Justice Department's probe into Russia's meddling in last year's election, will have the "full independence he needs to conduct that investigation".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said via email, "Chris speaks for himself". And all of his answers seemed intended as a signal that to fire Mueller without an extremely good reason, Trump would have to fire him too.

Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of conservative group Newsmax Media, Mr Ruddy was at the White House on Monday, but USA media reported that he did not meet Mr Trump while there. Conservative Review contributor Steve Deace labeled calls to fire Mueller the "absolutely dumbest dumbassery" in a series of tweets Monday night.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never had conversations with FBI Director James Comey about his job performance before Comey's firing.

Ruddy said, however, that doing so would "be a very significant mistake". "If there were good cause, I would consider it; if there weren't good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody said".

Just 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".

Mr Trump claimed he had been personally vindicated by Mr Comey's testimony last week confirming that he was not under investigation himself for links to Russian Federation. Even so, some are calling for Mueller to step aside, and others are encouraging the president to fire Mueller. He proved as tough as Cox, successfully suing the White House for information, including Oval Office tapes that led to Nixon's resignation nine months later. Suffice to say that Trump would be nuts to think that these flimsy objections would provide him with cover if he made the disastrous decision to dismiss Mueller and abort the investigation.

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Several White House officials and Trump associates insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the president's views of the unfolding investigation. Even though it is reported that the president understands how risky firing Mueller will be, those close to him feel that Trump is "so volatile they can not be sure that he won't change his mind if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised". Should Rosenstein refuse, Trump could ask him to resign or fire him and direct his successor to fire Mueller.

In May, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Monday, speculation was stoked that Trump was considering terminating Mueller, after a confidante of the president suggested it was under consideration.

"James Comey said he reviewed his testimony with the special counsel and ... it's unusual to me ... that you have a situation - I think this is unprecedented - where the testimony was reviewed".

A source close to the president said Trump is being counseled to steer clear of such a dramatic move such as firing the special counsel.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, warned on Twitter that "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

"I think it would be unusual that he would have a confidential conversation and then a few days later become the prosecutor of the person he may be investigating", Mr Ruddy told PBS NewsHour.