US Deputy Attorney General Assures Congress of Special Counsel Independence

Angie Massey
June 26, 2017

"I think he's weighing that option", Mr Ruddy said. Trump can rescind the regulation that establishes the burden of "good cause" for such a firing, or he could simply fire Rosenstein and install someone more to his liking.

If Mr Trump instructs Mr Rosenstein to dump Mr Mueller, it would evoke memories of 1973, when two top Justice Department officials, Mr Elliott Richardson and Mr Bill Ruckelshaus, resigned rather than obey then President Richard Nixon's order to fire Mr Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor conducting the Watergate investigation.

"I appointed him. I stand by it. and I am going to defend the integrity of that investigation", he said. "In recent days, the president has told his staff, his visitors, and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced Mueller, like Comey, his successor as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was part of a "witch hunt" by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office", the daily said.

Trump, according to The Times, has brought up the legal and political implications of firing Mueller, whom he reportedly thinks is "incapable of an impartial investigation".

The White House downplayed Ruddy's comments.

Should Trump want to go around the department, the president would need to repeal the regulations enacted in 1999 that protect the special counsel from being summarily fired. "I think he's weighing that option", Ruddy told PBS "NewsHour" when asked if Trump would let Mueller continue in his role in the Russian Federation probe.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department to helm the investigation after Trump abruptly fired Comey - who was the one previously leading the Russian Federation probe - in early May.

Though the special counsel has a sterling reputation and broad bipartisan support, one charge is that he is friends with former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey, whom Mr. Trump unceremoniously sacked, which could color his views on the president and his circle.

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He said he's confident that Mueller will have "the full independence he needs" to investigate.

Both Fleischer and Gingrich had previously vouched for the character and integrity of Mueller, who was appointed Federal Bureau of Investigation director by Bush and whose term was extended an extra two years by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Even before Ruddy's remarks Monday, other prominent Republicans had been questioning Mueller's mandate and his fitness to carry it out.

Ryan told reporters Tuesday: "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job".

The White House forcefully disputed Ruddy's claims, saying he speaks for himself, not the president.

"Special counsel Mueller may be fired only for good cause, and I am required to put that cause in writing". Gen. Jeff Sessions rightly recused himself from any investigation connected with the election.

Under Department of Justice rules, it is actually up to the deputy attorney general to make that call, though the president could bypass that protocol.

Rosenstein also said Sessions is not involved in the Russian Federation probe and has not been briefed on it since his recusal.

Ruddy later confirmed that he and the president hadn't discussed the matter personally.

Other reports by GizPress

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