Schiff says firing Mueller would echo Watergate

Marsha Scott
June 14, 2017

He says he is confident that Comey understood and would abide by the Justice Departments rules on communications with the White House about ongoing investigations.

Under Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by the deputy attorney general rather than the president, although those regulations could theoretically be set aside.

Until now, Mueller had drawn widespread praise from Republicans and Democrats alike. But now he's laying out an argument that the special counsel is different from the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Paul Ryan offered some mild criticism of Trump's alleged plan to fire Mueller.

But expressions of discontent with Mueller are bubbling up nonetheless. Gingrich, who only a few weeks ago called Mueller a "superb choice" with an "impeccable" reputation, tweeted on Monday: "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".

So, Rosenstein continues, his determination on whether to carry out an order to fire Mueller depends on his judgment about whether there is good cause for him to do so. In general, it is impermissible to ask prospective government hires about their political leanings, including whether they've made donations. He served two additional years beyond his 10-year term, to ensure stability during a transition period in President Obama's national security team.

"I think he's weighing that option", Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, told PBS' "NewsHour" on Monday.

Rosenstein said he was also unaware of any "secret plan" to get rid of Mueller. During the House hearing, New York Representative Nita Lowey asked Rosenstein if he had discussed former FBI Director James Comey's termination with the White House, and if anyone directed him to write his recommendation of Comey's dismissal.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday morning.

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The targeting of Mueller's credibility among some of Trump's most prominent supporters began after Comey's testimony last week.

"I think he's weighing that option", Ruddy told PBS "NewsHour" when asked if Trump would let Mueller continue in his role in the Russian Federation probe.

The president sacked Comey in early May. Still, Gingrich said any special counsel with an agenda can "all of the sudden find something procedural and technical to latch onto". Ruddy agrees that the move would be a wrong move, but dismissed the investigation Mueller is overseeing.

The authority to appoint a special counsel fell to Rosenstein, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia case because of his failure to disclose during his January confirmation hearing pre-election meetings he had Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", he said.

When asked to clarify the boundaries of Attorney General Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation probe, Rosenstein said, "I know what we're investigating and (Sessions) does not".

"I think the President, I know because we've talked about it".

If questions arise about what matters Sessions should stay away from, he said, a career official in Rosenstein's office is consulted.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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