Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

White House denies Trump wants Mueller out, but heat's on

A AUG. 21 2013 FILE Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Howard Terry | 18 June, 2017, 01:37

U.S. Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director he appointed as special counsel to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

"Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair", he wrote. It marks a rather stark change of views for the former House speaker, who just a month ago tweeted that Mr Mueller was a "superb choice" as special counsel.

Former FBI Director details meetings with Trump.

Rosenstein is charged with Mueller's fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation.

Donald Trump has called the ongoing investigation a "witch hunt", a "hoax" and an excuse by Democrats for why they lost the presidential race.

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.

Rosenstein also said that having made political contributions "is not a disqualification" from working for the special counsel leading the Russian Federation investigation. The president thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration. Ruddy, a close Trump ally, told PBS NewsHour on Monday that the president is weighing the option. Following his decision in April to give Mattis authority to decide troop levels in Iraq and Syria, Trump extended that authority to the war in Afghanistan on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

President Donald Trump's friend, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy texted ABC's "Good Morning America" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday with a stern warning to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. 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. There have been so many things that people such as me and Ruddy told him he couldn't or shouldn't do, only to have Trump do them and then win the GOP nomination. and then the presidency. and then keep the Republican Party nearly completely united behind his presidency.

Several lawmakers came out in support of Mueller. (Message: I'll protect you.) He allegedly told Comey the next day, "I hope you can let this go". Mr. Trump subsequently said he had planned to fire Mr. Comey all along, regardless of Mr. Rosenstein's judgement.

The newspaper reported on Wednesday that director of national intelligence Dan Coats, head of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers, and former deputy director at the NSA Richard Ledgett, had agreed to be interviewed by Mr Mueller's investigators as early as this week.

ROSENSTEIN: Yes, Senator. You have my assurance that we're gonna faithfully follow that regulation and Director Mueller is going to have the full independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately.

Trump technically has the authority to remove Mueller - either by ordering Rosenstein to fire him or ordering the regulations that govern his appointment repealed and then firing Mueller himself.

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