WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign (all times local):
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia investigation.
The comment came in response to questions from Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. She asked about news reports suggesting that President Donald Trump was already thinking about “terminating” Robert Mueller from his position as special counsel. She asked whether he has seen “any evidence of good cause” to fire Mueller. Rosenstein responded: “No I have not.”
Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller. And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is acting in that capacity.
He says he is confident that Mueller will have “the full independence he needs” to investigate thoroughly.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says the White House and President Donald Trump should let the special counsel’s investigation continue, and await vindication.
Ryan told reporters Tuesday: “The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job.”
The Wisconsin Republican commented in response to a Trump friend, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, who suggested Monday night that the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller from his position as special counsel. Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Ryan said the smartest thing for the president to do would be to let the investigation continue and be vindicated.
Said Ryan: “I know Bob Mueller. I have confidence in Bob Mueller.”
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Congress would not sit still if President Donald Trump decided to fire the special counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, says such a move would “be the last straw” for many in Congress and would have “echoes of Watergate,” when President Richard Nixon dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox over Cox’s subpoenas for White House tapes.
Trump’s allies have begun raising questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s impartiality — he’s a former FBI director who has worked with fired FBI Director James Comey — and floating the idea that Trump might replace him.
Schiff says that if Trump fires Mueller, Congress might name its own independent counsel to investigate the case. He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “I don’t think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator.”
High-profile supporters of President Donald Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, has gone so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller.
Ruddy said in an interview Monday with Judy Woodruff of PBS, “I think he’s weighing that option.”
Under current Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, not the president– though those regulations could theoretically be set aside.
Rosenstein may be asked to address the issue when he speaks at a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday morning.
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