Trump friend floats possibility of his firing special counsel in Russian probe

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House Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear he doesn't agree with some who are urging President Donald Trump to fire the Justice Department's special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

In a major story, The New York Times claimed that Trump was angered by reports that Mueller was close to fired FBI Director James Comey and entertained the idea of firing the special counsel.

Ruddy was at the White House on Monday (Tuesday NZT) to meet with White House aides, but did not speak with the president, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

Noted Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, reversed himself this week and began attacking Mueller as a vicious partisan whose hiring of Democratic loyalists as deputies has cast his impartiality into doubt.

Rosenstein explained how he interpreted Mueller's authority, the regulations governing the special counsel's office, and how he viewed his investigation so far.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in separate testimony Tuesday that there was no "secret plan" to fire Mueller, nor was there cause.

But the White House has now admitted there were no tapes of their conversations after all. "I know Bob Mueller, and I have confidence in Bob Mueller", Ryan said.

Rosenstein is scheduled to testify today before both Senate and House subcommittees regarding the Justice Department's budget, and he is likely to be questioned about Mueller's status.

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"I don't think donations are disqualifying at all, but if you represented the Clinton Foundation or Mrs. Clinton herself, that would be a bit disturbing", Graham said.

The reports started when a friend of the president's, Chris Ruddy, told reporters that the president was considering Mueller's termination.

"At the end of the day it's ill-advised even if the president could [fire Mueller]".

Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, based his Mueller comment on a television interview with one of Trump's lawyers. "This process has to play out because of what he did with [fired FBI director James] Comey and also calling for the investigation to end".

Even before Ruddy's remarks Monday, other prominent Republicans had been questioning Mueller's mandate and his fitness to carry it out.

Mueller was brought on to lead the probe into Russian election meddling after Trump fired Comey in May. That follows this week's high-profile Intelligence Committee hearing with embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "I think it's a threat to the Trump presidency". A President's order, he pointed out, did not count as good cause.

"Mueller and Rod Rosenstein?".

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted about the claim, saying, "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".