Trump interviewed Robert Mueller for Federal Bureau of Investigation director

White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, said any move to oust Mueller would "be the last straw" for many in Congress and would have "echoes of Watergate", when President Richard Nixon dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox over Cox's subpoenas for White House tapes.

The discussion on Mueller's investigation came after some of Trump's closest allies - including one of his sons - began questioning whether the wide-ranging probe is becoming too political.

But Ruddy on Tuesday opened a new line of questions about Mueller's impartiality - the fact that Trump had considered Mueller for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's job before he was named special counsel.

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

Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, on Tuesday said: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause". "I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe they are lawful" and that "it wouldn't matter what anybody said". Reports are circulating that Trump's inner circle is unanimous in trying to persuade the president not to fire Mueller. Still, he said: "Bob Mueller did a great job as Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

In every practical sense, Trump is stuck with Mueller. Ruddy had not met directly with the President while he was there.

A longtime friend of Trump, Chris Ruddy, first told PBS Monday that Trump was considering firing Mueller.

"I think we should let Bob Mueller do his work and get to the bottom of it, and get to the bottom of it quickly so that he can be vindicated, get to these things".

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"I think there's very serious questions about Director Mueller running the special prosecution of the president", Ruddy said Tuesday on MSNBC's "For the Record with Greta Van Susteren".

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that Trump called him Monday night because of Gingrich's concerns about the Russian Federation probe. Still, Gingrich said any special counsel with an agenda can "all of the sudden find something procedural and technical to latch onto".

Ruddy says that Spicer asked him to issue a follow-up statement or a tweet indicating that he never spoke to Trump about firing Mueller and so does not know first-hand that it is something the president is considering.

Gingrich noted that at least four members of Mueller's team had donated to Democratic presidential campaigns and groups, saying it's "time to rethink" Mueller's role.

Gingrich also said Trump had phoned him Monday night, and left him with the impression that Mueller's job isn't on the line.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on Monday that "Chris speaks for himself", but declined to comment further.

Mueller was already granted a waiver by the Justice Department to lead the probe 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.

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