Friend says Trump is considering 'terminating' special counsel Robert Mueller


Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate and potentially bring criminal charges in connection to Russian interference in the presidential election, could join those ranks, if Trump were to decide he's exhausted of the investigative "cloud" hanging over his administration.

"Director Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a Senate appropriations subcommittee, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller.

In response to a "PBS Newshour" report that Trump is "weighing" the option of firing Mueller, Georgetown law professor Marty Lederman wrote at the blog Just Security that Trump could theoretically rescind or make less stringent the 1999 special counsel regulations. "I think there's a conflict there", Ruddy said.

"I personally think it would be a very significant mistake", Ruddy added.

Trump advocate Newt Gingrich urged the president to "rethink" Mr Mueller's position.

Hours after the interview, White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not deny the claim, but said: "Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue". But Sekulow added that he "can't imagine the issue is going to arise". "I think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently".

Mr Trump does not have the authority to dismiss Mr Mueller, and he would have to ask Mr Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel, to do so.

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.

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Ruddy appears to have based his assessment on public comments made over the weekend by a member of Trump's personal legal team.

Justice Department Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben donated in 2008 to a political action committee for then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as well as a PAC for Hillary Clinton in 2006. Former president Richard Nixon's attempt to remove a special prosecutor during his tenure led to the resignations of two top Justice Department officials amid the Watergate scandal.

Rosenstein is scheduled to testify today before both Senate and House subcommittees regarding the Justice Department's budget, and he is likely to be questioned about Mueller's status.

Rosenstein could not be reached for comment.

Some other Trump allies have also floated the notion in recent days of ditching Mueller.

"You have a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation deliberately leaking in order to create a special counsel who we're now supposed to believe is going to be this neutral figure", he said.

The latest appointments from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation could be a more ominous indication of trouble on the horizon for the Trump administration.