Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a Senate panel on Tuesday that he has no reason to fire special counsel Robert Mueller amid rumors that President Donald Trump was looking to ax the head investigator probing Russian interference in the US presidential election.
Just weeks ago, Mr Gingrich had heaped praise on Mr Mueller, hailing him as a “superb choice” for special counsel whose reputation was “impeccable for honesty and integrity”.
NPR reported on Friday that Mueller was being considered to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation before being named special counsel.
“If you want to see the President on a fast track to impeachment, then he should take this advice and fire Mueller”, said Illinois Representative Luis Gutiérrez in a speech on the House floor Tuesday.
After President Donald Trump’s friend, Chris Ruddy, said Monday night that Trump is considering firing Mueller, Rosenstein said in a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing that Mueller can “only be fired for good cause”, and it would be his job to put that good cause into writing.
In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian Federation.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Chris speaks for himself”.
In former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week, he admitted to leaking a memo of a private conversation between him and Trump in an effort to induce the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump-Russian connection.
Trump interviewed Mueller for the director’s position days before Rosenstein picked Mueller as special counsel for the Russian Federation probe, Sanders confirmed Tuesday.
The White House denied that Trump ever discussed the matter with Ruddy.
It would be hard to make the case, he said, that the experience of interviewing for Federal Bureau of Investigation director would make it impossible for Mueller to fairly exercise the broad discretion afforded to prosecutors.
“I think the president is actually pretty confident that ultimately this is all going to come out in the wash and ultimately he’s still going to be president”. Still, Gingrich said any special counsel with an agenda can “all of the sudden find something procedural and technical to latch onto”. That decision would fall to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who testified Tuesday in a Senate budget hearing that he would only fire Mueller for good cause and has seen no evidence of that. Ruddy agrees that the move would be a wrong move, but dismissed the investigation Mueller is overseeing.
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. “I personally think it would be a very significant mistake”.
“He called me because I’ve been very clear about the fact that Mueller hiring four Democrats – his first four attorneys are all Democrats”.
At the time, Sessions said he was recusing himself only because he was involved in the 2016 campaign as an adviser to the Trump campaign.
Mr Schiff told news channel MSNBC’s Morning Joe programme on Tuesday that “I don’t think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator”.