Friend says Trump is considering 'terminating' Mueller

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He said he's confident that Mueller will have "the full independence he needs" to investigate.

Under Justice Department rules, Mr Trump would have to order Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein to rescind department regulations protecting a special counsel from being fired for no good reason, and then to fire Mr Mueller.

But Ryan said he trusted Mueller, who was named to his post by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to conduct a fair investigation.

Ruddy sparked a media firestorm on Monday when he told the "PBS NewsHour" that Trump is considering firing Mueller.

But in this particular case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything relating to the Russian Federation investigation.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department to helm the investigation after Trump abruptly fired Comey - who was the one previously leading the Russian Federation probe - in early May. But both appearances, however, are being overshadowed by Sessions' public appearance at a Senate intelligence committee hearing.

"I don't think Newt said that", Graham told reporters.

"The attorney general is still responsible for answering critical questions from this committee, " Shaheen said.

"I appointed him. I stand by it. and I am going to defend the integrity of that investigation", he said.

According to Ruddy, Mueller was a candidate to replace James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director and had met privately with Trump on that subject.

Still, top Democrats on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee fumed that Sessions had abruptly canceled his appearance there, with Sen. If Rosenstein refused, Trump could fire him and continue down the line until a DOJ official acquiesced.

"I personally think it would be a very significant mistake", Ruddy added. "Look who he is hiring". Doubt, however, has been cast on that explanation because of cryptic testimony from former FBI Director James Comey last week.

However, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee says, "Chris speaks for himself". The person demanded anonymity to discuss strategy on the sensitive matter.

President Trump is known to value the element of surprise. But the president is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside.

Statements made by Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy set off many new questions Monday night.

The White House has said that U.S. President Donald Trump has "no intention" of firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Mr Ruddy said the President was weighing whether to dismiss Mr Mueller because of concerns about conflicts of interest.

"When the day comes that our country can not rely on people to deliver the truth about whatever the subject is from positions of great authority and great reputations, like Mueller, and if we just dismiss those as not being able to deliver us the truth about an issue, we've got more problems than we think we have", Womack said.

The Justice Department declined CBS News' request for comment.

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