No longer out of bounds: Trump allies question Mueller probe

Aaron Brown
June 15, 2017

Spicer had said that Ruddy was at the White House Monday to meet with White House aides, but did not speak with the president. Senators on Tuesday questioned both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how the inquiry is being handled.

But expressions of discontent with Mueller are bubbling up nonetheless. I think if they did fire him, it would be a mistake.

Three members of the legal team known to have been hired so far by Mueller have given political donations nearly exclusively to Democrats, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Senators didn't call him to testify because they believe he was the mastermind of the Trump-Kremlin axis.

The comments came a day after a close friend of President Donald Trump was quoted in a television interview as saying the president was considering dismissing Mueller. Trump's wife, Melania, has adopted a more temperate tone, telling her husband that she believed the appointment of Mueller would speed resolution of the Russian Federation scandal and expressing her view that he would be exonerated, according to two people with direct knowledge of her advice.

Anxiety about the probe — and fresh concerns about the political leanings of some of the attorneys involved — is percolating in the West Wing of the White House.

Christopher Ruddy, who is the CEO of conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS on Monday night that Trump was "weighing that option".

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.

On Tuesday, Jefferson Sessions appeared before the same committee, mostly to express his outrage, but also to claim a new, preemptive variety of privilege that allows Trump officials to not respond to congressional inquiry without actually claiming executive privilege, on the basis that they might say something Trump doesn't like.

Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) whether Sessions "lingered" because he knew he wasn't supposed to leave Comey alone with Trump, Sessions ducked: "What I did recall is I did depart", Sessions said, "and Director Comey was sitting in front of the president's desk and they were talking".

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Other Trump supporters homed in on the sequence of Mueller's job interviews. When you wrote your letter on May 9, did you know that the president had already made a decision to fire Director Comey? White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban.

But he declined to talk about the nature of a meeting he attended with Trump just before Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein drafted a letter outlining these objections.

"If there were good cause, I would consider it", Rosenstein testified.

Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign.

Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March after it was revealed he twice met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign but failed to say so at his confirmation hearing.

Now, Trump could order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

WARNER: With your recusal, you would not take any actions to try to have Director Mueller removed?

"In 1179, December 27th, Henry II said, 'Who will rid me of the meddlesome priest?' and the next day, [Thomas Becket] was killed", Sen. Scott, confidants of the President say this presents yet another conflict for Mueller. "I don't question his integrity at all, but he has to be careful not to create the impression of partiality".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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