President Donald Trump is not planning on firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a statement released by White House attorney Ty Cobb on Sunday.
"In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller."
Cobb's statement followed a weekend-long presidential tweet storm in which Trump once again denied there was any collusion with Russia, and even went so far as to imply that Mueller's team of prosecutors was biased because none of them are Republicans. Mueller is a life-long Republican.
On Saturday, the president reverted back to his default claim that the investigation into possible collusion is a total "witch hunt." Mueller was hired in large part as a response to Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last year.
The president reiterated this assertion early Monday morning.
Also on Saturday, Trump's personal lawyer John Dowd told The Daily Beast that he hopes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia probe (and who is also a Republican), will fire Mueller. Currently, Rosenstein is the only person with the authority to fire the Special Counsel.
“I pray that acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier."
CBS News noted on Monday:
"Deeply frustrated, Mr. Trump has fumed to confidants that the Mueller probe is "going to choke the life out of" his presidency if allowed to continue unabated indefinitely, according to an outside adviser who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations with the president."
Some Republicans are speaking out, urging the president to let Mueller do his job.
House Intelligence Committee member Trey Gowdy (R-SC) appeared on Fox News Sunday and told host Chris Wallace that Mueller's investigation must be permitted to come to its own conclusion.
"My advice to the president is the same thing I just told his lawyer: give Bob Mueller the time, the independence and the resources to do the very job. Keep in mind, Chris, he didn't volunteer for this," Gowdy said. "Give him the time, the resources, the independence to do his job, and when you are innocent, if the allegation is collusion with the Russians and there is no evidence of that, and you're innocent of that, act like it."
Another prominent South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, told CNN that if Trump were to try to fire Mueller, "that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency." What he specifically meant by this, however, is unclear.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee shut down their investigation into Trump-Russia collusion last week, and the president is using this to reinforce his own repeated defense that there was no collusion.