Schiff says firing Mueller would echo Watergate

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If President Donald Trump decides to terminate special counsel Robert Mueller, then it's going to get very ugly very quickly.

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.

Speculation continued unabated and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the counsel, was asked about it at a Senate hearing on Tuesday morning.

Until now, Mueller had drawn widespread praise from Republicans and Democrats alike.

The criticism of Mueller takes several forms.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said he would be "surprised" if Trump fired Mueller.

But expressions of discontent with Mueller are bubbling up nonetheless. He added that fundraising records show some of the lawyers whom Mueller selected for his team have contributed to Democrats.

Top House GOP leaders appeared frustrated at the news conference about the multiple questions about Mueller's probe and what might happen if he were forced out of his position. He said Trump had called him Monday night and that the two discussed Gingrich's concerns about the probe.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein at a budget hearing Tuesday what he would do if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the USA elections and possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign. I want to know how he believes he can credibly lead the Justice Department for which he has requested $28.3 billion amid such distressing questions about his actions and his integrity.

"I'm not a flak for the White House".

Still, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a friend of Mr Trump, suggested the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mr Mueller from his position as special counsel.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

"While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so", Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One when asked if Trump was considering firing Mueller.

As Mr Mueller builds his legal team, Mr Trump's allies have begun raising questions about the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's impartiality, suggesting he can not be trusted to lead the probe.

Trump also had other issues on his mind on Tuesday as reflected in his tweets, the Russian Federation probe among them, as he sought to deflect attention towards Hillary Clinton and the investigation into her use of a private email server that came up during fired FBI director James Comey's testimony last week. The interview was first reported by PBS.

But Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that "there is no secret plan [to remove Mueller] that involves me", USA Today reports.

Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller.

"I always speak for myself and not the president".

With few exceptions, Trump's allies are urging him not to move to dismiss Mueller, which would be both politically and technically complicated. "If there were not good cause it wouldn't matter what anyone said".

Democratic senators on the committee attempted to clarify the boundaries of Sessions' recusal, something they say is unclear.

In the memo in question, Rosenstein criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

White House staffers made a concerted effort to talk Trump down from ordering that Mueller be fired, the paper said.