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'Trump is considering firing Mueller as special counsel'

16 June 2017

Rosenstein's testimony was in less than flawless alignment with what White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Air Force One as she proceeded to undercut the deputy attorney general.

But Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a friend of the President who attended meetings Monday at the White House, was the one who revealed that the issue was being discussed.

As billowing rumors that Donald Trump was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller engulfed Washington, temporarily overshadowing Tuesday's testimony at separate congressional hearings from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the president stood before a gaggle of reporters at the White House and refused to confirm his support for Mueller, fueling the spiraling speculation with a calculated goal.

Those in the White House have expressed concern that the probe could detract from the president's agenda for months or years to come.

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The report goes on to state that while Trump is suspicious of Mueller and that he is still furious with Attorney General Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the Russian Federation probe. He later noted that it was up to Mueller to determine whether the issue might be part of his investigation, adding he thought Mueller "ought to review that". Ruddy hit back: "It is a sad commentary that Sean Spicer spends so much of his time objecting to my comments at the same time he has done such a poor job in defending the president and promoting his many accomplishments", he said, perhaps concerned that his Mar-a-Lago tête à têtes with Trump might now become less collegial. Ruddy told PBS that he thinks it would be "a very significant mistake" for Trump to seek Mueller's termination. "If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says".

But Ruddy opened a new line of questions about Mueller's impartiality - the fact that Trump had considered Mueller for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's job before he was named special counsel.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of his successor, James Comey, at the FBI headquarters in 2013. "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job", he told reporters.

Rosenstein was likely referring to the possibility that Mueller would investigate whether Sessions violated his recusal or whether Comey's firing was an effort to obstruct justice.

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Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation because of his own conversations with Russian officials during the Trump transition.

The new talk about dismissing Mueller appeared to be coming from Trump allies - including some close to White House strategist Steve Bannon - who are increasingly frustrated with the prospect of a long and winding probe.

"I never said I spoke to the President", he added.

Trump has made it clear that he is frustrated by the United States probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, which USA intelligence officials said was done to tilt the outcome in Trump's favor.

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Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Ruddy's remarks. Still, he said: "Bob Mueller did a great job as Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

'Trump is considering firing Mueller as special counsel'