Deputy AG Rosenstein set for budget hearing Tuesday

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He told Woodruff he thinks firing Mueller "would be a very significant mistake, even though I don't think there's a justification. for a special counsel". Muller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Trump could order Rosenstein to fire him or he could order that regulations that govern the appointment be repealed and then fire Mueller himself.

Chris Ruddy, a Trump friend and the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax, raised the possibility of the president considering terminating Mueller, a potentially explosive option.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

CORNISH: Now, if the president is so down on Mueller, why not fire him? According to the 1999 law that created special counsels, it is Rosenstein - not Trump - who has the authority to fire Mueller.

Comey himself had a riveting appearance before the same Senate panel last week, with some key moments centered on Sessions.

I met Mueller only once, when he was assistant attorney general for the criminal division. We don't know if it's going to happen or if it won't happen.

It's one thing to support Trump, but another to be hypocritical of everything that may implicate him of a crime.

"I said that the President was indeed considering that".

President Trump will not unconditionally cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's recently opened investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and any possible coordination with the Trump campaign, a defense lawyer for Trump signaled Sunday. Mr Gingrich said he is troubled by Democratic donations of Mr Mueller's picks to help lead the probe.

The White House forcefully disputed Ruddy's claims, saying he speaks for himself, not the president.

Asked Monday if the White House thought Sessions should invoke executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his conversations with Trump, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer replied, "It depends on the scope of the questions". "I think firing Mueller could trigger an impeachment process". "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair", tweeted former House Speaker and current Trump biographer Newt Gingrich.

And so begins the inevitable partisan attacks on Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who has earned near unanimous praise for his integrity and fairness as the bureau's top boss. Doubt, however, has been cast on that explanation because of cryptic testimony from former FBI Director James Comey last week.

Since being appointed special counsel in May, he has built a team of formidable legal minds who've worked on everything from Watergate to Enron.

Said Ryan: "I know Bob Mueller". Other Trump allies oppose the investigation through a thread of interlinked objections: that Meuller's probe is unnecessary, that he is hiring an assemblage of biased attorneys who have donated to the Democrats in the past, and that his close relationship with Comey is compromising.

COLLINS: Has the president ever discussed with you the appointment of the special counsel or discussed the special counsel in any way? I'm in charge, and I'm going to stay in charge. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here".

It wasn't clear whether Ruddy, who speaks with the president often, was basing his remarks on a specific conversation with the president or entirely on Sekulow's comments. Ruddy did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification.

After speaking with President Donald Trump about the ongoing Russian Federation investigation, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said special prosecutor Robert Mueller can't be trusted and Congress "should now intervene and ... abolish the independent counsel". "Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Spicer said.