Newsmax chief executive and Trump confidant Christopher Ruddy took to PBS in an interview that aired Monday evening to say he thought Trump was "considering perhaps terminating" the recently appointed Mueller. The White House finally said Tuesday evening that Trump has "no intention" of firing Mueller, amid speculation and concern that he was weighing that option.
Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already rescued himself from the Russian Federation investigation, Mueller's fate rests in the hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who wrote a memo the White House at one point claimed influenced the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the administration official who actually has the authority to fire Mueller, threw cold water on that prospect in Senate testimony Tuesday morning.
Mueller was already granted a waiver by the Justice Department to lead the investigation despite a possible conflict of interest stemming from his law firm's representation of some of the people caught up in the investigation, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser.
Former United States attorney Barbara McQuade, who served under the Barack Obama administration, told the Daily Beast if Trump fired Mueller "and it could be shown that his objective was to impede the investigation, it could be additional evidence of obstruction of justice". A year ago, it would have seemed inconceivable for a president to fire his FBI Director, and yet that's exactly what Trump did.
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Ruddy added that Mueller is "a man of integrity" but said that the far-ranging nature of the investigations could cause issues for Mueller in the future, given those factors.
Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington.
In his special counsel role, Mueller has assumed all the powers of a federal prosecutor - including subpoena authority.
If Sekulow provided the legal framework for firing Mueller, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich supplied the political messaging: Trump has been exonerated and Mueller is biased. "I don't think it'd be very smart at all".
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on the issues Gingrich and others have raised. Rosenstein said he has not discussed the appointment of Mueller with Mr. Trump. If Rosenstein refused, 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.