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Deputy attorney general says he's seen no good cause to fire Mueller

19 June 2017

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said.

Christopher Ruddy, a close friend and CEO of Newsmax Media, discussed with PBS how the Russian Federation investigation and testimony of former FBI Director James Comey affected the White House and how Donald Trump might be "considering perhaps terminating" special counsel Robert Mueller. "Trump is definitely considering it ... it's not something that's being dismissed", Ruddy said.

Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing.

Under Justice Department regulations created to ensure a measure of independence for the special counsel, Rosenstein may only fire Mueller for "good cause".

During a press conference on May 18, the day after Mueller was named special counsel, ABC News' chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Trump if his appointment was the right move. "I think he's weighing that option".

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Mueller was appointed on May 17 by the Justice Department as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 USA elections and related matters. Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing its own probe into the Russian Federation matter, tweeted, "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller". If there were good cause, I would consider it. In what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, President Richard Nixon ordered then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox.

If questions arise about what matters Sessions should stay away from, he said, a career official in Rosenstein's office is consulted.

Rosenstein was testifying hours ahead of a separate Senate appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was expected to face sharp questions from his former colleagues about his role in Comey's firing, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to step aside from the investigation involving Moscow and the Trump campaign.

But after the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey last week, Gingrich said he'd changed his mind.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, reacted to the reports Tuesday and said that Mueller should be allowed to continue pursuing the investigation independently and thoroughly.

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Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One that "while the president has the right to" fire Robert Mueller, "he has no intention to do so".

In his interview, Ruddy said Trump had interviewed Mueller for the position of Federal Bureau of Investigation director several days before Rosenstein appointed him special counsel.

Still, top Democrats on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee fumed that Sessions had abruptly canceled his appearance there, with Sen.

Session will also testify before the House later Tuesday, where he is also scheduled to discuss the department budget. Well, we're not briefing the Oval Office about investigations either, so I don't know how they would get there.

So senator, I think within the department we do have clarity, and the reason for that is that there's a career ethics official who made that determination in conjunction with the attorney general before I arrived. Comey's decision to announce a year ago that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said.

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Mr Sessions vigorously denied having an undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the US.