Top aides talked Trump out of firing Mueller

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

In the same interview, Ruddy said that the president was considering terminating Mueller as special counsel. That was the upshot of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House.

The top Justice Department official overseeing the investigation into Russian Federation also assured senators that Mueller has been granted complete independence to do his work. Rosenstein has already said publicly that he sees no justification for firing Mueller, and that he wouldn't carry out an order from Trump to do so without "good cause". After responding that he had not, Rosenstein reassured Shaheen of his confidence in the process. We don't know if it's going to happen or if it won't happen.

"The chain of command for the special counsel is only directly to the attorney general - and in this case, the acting attorney general", he said.

Justice Department rules prohibit the dismissal of a special counsel without cause.

Mueller was succeeded by James Comey, who was sacked by Trump last month while he was overseeing the investigation into potential Russian interference into last year's election and potential collusion with the Trump presidential campaign.

"I wouldn't say I was fighting with Sean Spicer", Ruddy said.

But in this particular case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything relating to the Russian Federation investigation.

CNN has reported at the time that the White House was given only a brief heads up that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was naming Mueller to oversee Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion from Trump's campaign associates. "The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information". 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.

While the White House appeared to row back from the comments made by Mr Ruddy in an interview, a growing number of Republicans have questioned Mr Mueller's impartiality.

The interview was first mentioned by Trump friend and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy in an interview on PBS' "NewsHour" Monday evening.

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel". I personally think it would be a very significant mistake.

"I think the White House communications office is doing a disservice to the president by not focusing on the fact that you have several top prosecutors with [special counsel] Mueller that have donated to Obama and campaigns", Ruddy said. "Look who he is hiring".

Just weeks ago, Mr Gingrich had heaped praise on Mr Mueller, hailing him as a "superb choice" for special counsel whose reputation was "impeccable for honesty and integrity". But his comment left open the possibility that the investigation does cover the chain of events that led to Trump firing Comey.

Ruddy did not dismiss the White House communications team's words, but he did call Spicer's statement "bizarre".

Speaking earlier, House Speaker Paul Ryan said politicians should allow the special counsel to do his work.

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