Rosenstein Says He Won't Fire Special Counsel Unless There's Good Cause

Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, said in an interview on PBS NewsHour on Monday that President Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. That decision would fall to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who said on Tuesday in a Senate budget hearing that he would only fire Mr Mueller for good cause and has seen no evidence of that.

Conservative media, led by Newsmax CEO and Trump friend Chris Ruddy, have suggested that the interview shows Mueller has a conflict in his special counsel investigation.

Ruddy also stated that Trump would be within his right to fire Mueller since there are certain conflicts of interest that exist regarding the past relationship shared by the president and the special counsel.

Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of conservative group Newsmax Media, Mr Ruddy was at the White House on Monday, but U.S. media reported that he did not meet Mr Trump while there. The option is still on the table, but Ruddy's move takes away the president's element of surprise.

Legal experts say that only a Justice official who has been confirmed by the Senate, as Bork had been, would have the authority to fire Mueller. That, to me, is the smartest thing to do, the best thing to do, and that's what I think hopefully will happen.

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This apparent effort to lay the groundwork for Mueller's firing raises a key question: Could the president do it? US Justice Department regulations outline that a special counsel can be fired by the US attorney general "for cause".

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue", Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. "With respect to the subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment".

Asked about criticisms that some of the members of Mueller's team and his ability to conduct fair investigation, Ryan said he didn't know the team but said, "I know Bob Mueller".

Sessions criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which the White House had initially cited as the ostensible reason for his firing.

The president is reportedly angry about stories about close ties between Mueller and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

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Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee the Russian Federation investigation on May 18.

Comey testified that he believed the revelations in his memos - including concern that Trump sought to influence the FBI's Russian Federation investigation - would prompt the appointment of a special counsel. Trump could conceivably then fire Rosenstein and keep issuing the order until someone carried it out. Trump decided he had to fire Flynn on February 13, saying even as he did so that Flynn had done nothing wrong and shouldn't be punished.

Comey leaked those memos because Trump was trying to get a legitimate and important investigation ended, a clear case of corruption.

On Monday, luxuriating in the glow of a keenly-trained bank of news cameras, Donald Trump presided over his first full Cabinet meeting, a ceremony described by New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush as "the most exquisitely awkward public event I've ever seen". A highly regarded Justice Department careerist, he tapped Mueller - infuriating Trump - after the White House tried to pin the Comey firing on him.

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  • Ryan Wade