What would happen if Trump tried to fire special counsel Mueller

Lawyer Jay Sekulow a member of President Trump's legal team wouldn't commit the president to a pledge to not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Lawyer Jay Sekulow a member of President Trump's legal team wouldn't commit the president to a pledge to not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller

But on Tuesday, responding to a question about Mueller during a Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing about the Justice Department budget, Rosenstein said he hasn't seen "good cause" to fire Mueller, which is a requirement for such terminations. "Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result". He added later: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause", which he said he would have to put in writing. Ruddy's remarks came on the heels of Trump loyalists growing louder with their calls that Mueller should be removed from heading up the Russian Federation probe.

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.

"I think he's weighing that option", Ruddy said.

But he said: "I personally think it would be a very significant mistake".

CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, CEO, Newsmax: Well, I think they came out of last week pretty good. Last week had to have been one of the most hard weeks for this young presidency, with the Comey testimony, other matters out there.

If Trump really wants to short-circuit the Russian Federation probe, I think he'll do it via pardons instead of by firing Mueller.

Ruddy had been at the White House the same day, though White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he did not meet with the president. He could order Rosenstein to do so, for instance, and while there's no way of telling how Rosenstein would react, the Justice Department generally acts at the behest of the president. Additional questions have arisen about whether this curious and seemingly devious means of putting the contents of the notes in the public domain (leaking, in other words) was designed specifically to bring about the appointment of a special counsel outside the president's direct reach - and, indeed, whether Comey wanted, expected or intended his friend Mueller to get the job.

In a major story, The New York Times claimed that Trump was angered by reports that Mueller was close to fired FBI Director James Comey and entertained the idea of firing the special counsel.

Democrats accused Republicans on Monday of beginning a campaign to smear Mueller's reputation as he engages in a broad investigation that could include whether Trump obstructed justice by pressuring Comey to end parts of the inquiry and then by firing him.

A person close to Trump's legal team said earlier Tuesday that there have been no discussions about firing Mueller with the legal team. He said there is no cause to consider removal, and that that the Attorney General's office alone would make that decision with the special counsel.

Trump can not directly dismiss Mueller. This left Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge of all things Russia-related, and it was Rosenstein who, in May, appointed Mueller to lead the investigation.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you're saying it may be politically motivated, but even Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee said of former Director Comey's testimony that they found him credible, that they view him as someone with integrity. Do I think he'll actually fire him? Okay, but, uh, it wasn't Comey who named Mueller special counsel.

Trump has already taken the country to a darker place than even his sharpest critics would have imagined six months ago.

It was not clear whether Mr Ruddy, who speaks to the president often, was basing his remarks on a specific conversation with him or entirely on Mr Sekulow's comments.

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