In an interview with PBS Newshour on Monday night, Christopher Ruddy, CEO of the conservative website Newsmax and a friend of President Trump, suggested that Trump was considering firing Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in the Russian collusion investigation.
“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he’s weighing that option. I think it’s pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.”
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) June 12, 2017
While Ruddy added that he thinks the move would be a “significant mistake,” he explained the reasoning for potentially firing Mueller would be based on “some real conflicts.”
“He comes from a law firm that represents members of the Trump family. He interviewed the day before, a few days before, he was appointed special counsel, with the president, who was looking at him potentially to become the next FBI Director.”
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Ruddy’s allegation by simply stating, “Chris speaks for himself.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 13, 2017
Sean Spicer elaborated on that sentiment, saying:
“Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue. With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”
Tuesday morning, Ruddy fired back at Spicer, urging him not to waste his time “trying to undermine one of your few allies.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 13, 2017
White House correspondent April Ryan reported on CNN Monday night that “there’s mass hysteria in the West Wing about this” because if he were to fire Mueller, “it shows that he’s impeding the process yet again.” And indeed, the condemnation of such a move was swift even from Congressional Republicans.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):
“It would be a disaster. There’s no reason to fire Mueller. What’s he done to be fired?”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME):
[Firing Mueller would] “certainly be an extraordinarily unwise move.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY):
“I think Bob Mueller’s as good as you’re going to find. I don’t see any reason to remove him now.”
Some Trump allies, such as Newt Gingrich, have been hammering Mueller’s credibility in recent days, making the case for his removal.
Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017
The situation begs the question: Is firing Mueller even an option for the President? Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein made clear in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he doesn’t believe it is.
Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein under oath last week:
The President “cannot” fire Robert Mueller. pic.twitter.com/cccdeYQVrg
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) June 13, 2017
But if Trump were to let Mueller go, Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained on Twitter what would happen next:
If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller. Don’t waste our time.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 12, 2017