No longer out of bounds: Trump allies question Mueller probe

Chris Ruddy, a friend of Donald Trump and the CEO of Newsmax claimed on Monday that the president was considering firing Russia probe head Robert Mueller

Another White House official told the Daily Beast it would "suicide" for Trump to get rid of the special counsel.

Ruddy argued that Mueller should not have taken the job of special counsel because he was under consideration for the other position, and had had the private meeting with the president for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director appointment.

Mr Trump's friend, Mr Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media, said on the Public Broadcasting Service's NewsHour programme that the President was "considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel".

"While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so", deputy White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday when asked if Trump meant to fire Mueller.

Ruddy appeared to be basing his remarks, at least in part, on comments from Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump's legal team, who told ABC in an interview Sunday that he was "not going to speculate" on whether Trump might at some point order Rosenstein to fire Mueller. However, the White House has denied his claims.

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".

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"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said.

"They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story".

The transition official said the organization has also separately asked the General Services Administration to preserve records from the Trump transition that were transferred to its facilities after the inauguration.

Under Department of Justice rules, it is actually up to the deputy attorney general to make that call, though the president could bypass that protocol. But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight given his role in Trump's decision to fire Comey. During the Watergate investigation President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating a campaign of political spying and sabotage launched by a Nixon re-election committee.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.

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In Mueller's case, Trump would have to ask Rosenstein to do the firing. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who named Mueller to lead the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation, testified there was no reason to dismiss him, and said that he alone has the authority to do so.

If Trump did indeed end up successfully firing Mueller, Congress would constitute his next hurdle. Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have backed Mueller and said there's no reason to fire him.

In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again.

Thus, if Trump did indeed fire Mueller, the ultimate recourse (or lack thereof) would likely fall in the hands of Congressional Republicans, due to their majority in both Houses.

President Trump has railed against the Russian Federation investigation, describing it as a "witch hunt".

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