Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

No longer out of bounds: Trump allies question Mueller probe

Panicked Trump cronies desperately smear respected special counsel Robert Mueller Friend says Trump is considering 'terminating' Mueller
Howard Terry | 18 June, 2017, 00:52

There, the job would first fall to the person who appointed Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from involvement in the probe.

During a Senate hearing, Rosenstein said: "I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe they are lawful" in reference to speculations that President Donald Trump has been considering terminating Robert Mueller in order to stop the investigation. If Mr. Rosenstein refused, Mr. Trump could fire him, too - a series of events that would recall the "Saturday Night Massacre" during Watergate, when President Richard M. Nixon sought to dismiss a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. "I will defend the integrity of that investigation", Rosenstein said.

Christopher Ruddy, a Mar-a-Lago golfing buddy of the president who is frequently used by Trump to share the great man's thoughts, told CNN and others that Trump considers "Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel".

"This is an illegitimate special counsel", Ruddy said.

Asked whether he had seen any reason for Mueller to be removed, Rosenstein responded, "No, I have not".

A close friend said Mr Trump saw firing him as an option, but the White House said both never discussed this issue. "With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment".

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter offered a similar message, tweeting, "Now that we know TRUMP IS NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION, Sessions should take it back & fire Mueller". "He had a private conversation with the President on his views about all sorts of matters, potentially about the investigation, I don't know".

Trump advocate Newt Gingrich urged the president to "rethink" Mr Mueller's position.

Collins' question wasn't the only time the Mueller investigation came up during Rosenstein's hearing on Capitol Hill.

Trump supporters are mounting a campaign to have the US President fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian subversion of the 2016 elections, amid expressions of adulation and sycophancy by his cabinet colleagues that has drawn derisive comparison to what happens in dictatorships and totalitarian regimes. But his comment left open the possibility that the investigation does cover the chain of events that led to Trump firing Comey.

Additionally, in last week's testimony, Comey strongly suggested that Mueller is now investigating the possibility that Trump obstructed justice when he asked his Federal Bureau of Investigation director to lay off Michael Flynn.

Mueller was appointed to investigate whether Trump or his associates had links to Russian hackers, and Trump lacks the direct authority to dismiss him. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now due to testifyon the matter before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Three members of the legal team known to have been hired so far by Mueller have given political donations nearly exclusively to Democrats, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he's had with Trump.

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