No longer out of bounds: Trump allies question Mueller probe

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDem senators seize on Senate press crackdown It's the oil, stupid: Why Democrats must block Trump on infrastructure Senate reaches deal on Russian Federation sanctions MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging Republicans to defend special counsel Robert Mueller amid a new wave of criticism from some prominent conservatives of the person leading the probe into Russia's election interference.

Allies of the President cast doubt on the idea that Mr Trump would take such a drastic step, and officials said Mr Ruddy had not met Mr Trump directly while visiting the White House on Monday. Mr Ruddy said Mr Mueller has some "conflicts" because his former law firm, Wilmer Hale, also representing Ms Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter, and her husband, Mr Jared Kushner.

Sam Nunberg, who worked for Trump's presidential campaign, said it "could seem to be a conflict" for Mueller to first interview with the president to be a possible replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey and then days later to be named as the special counsel heading an investigation that could look into Comey's firing.

"Mr Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue,"White House press secretary Sean Spicer said later".

Firing Mr Mueller would be politically explosive and would raise new questions about Mr Trump, whose dismissal of Mr James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation chief led to charges of obstruction of justice - and to Mr Mueller's appointment.

Ruddy said on PBS NewsHour he thought Trump considering terminating the special counsel was, "pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently". Comey said he and other Federal Bureau of Investigation officials expected Sessions to recuse himself before it was publicly announced but would not discuss why they came to that conclusion. Senators on Tuesday questioned both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how the inquiry is being handled.

[B] ehind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump's interactions.

Rosenstein told lawmakers during a Justice Department budget hearing on Tuesday that he hasn't seen a "good cause" for firing Mueller. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

"If the White House truly has nothing to hide, they ought to encourage special counsel Mueller to investigate".

Multiple House Republicans said that there was no discussion about the special counsel at the weekly GOP meeting.

With few exceptions, Trump's allies are urging him not to move to dismiss Mueller, which would be both politically and technically complicated. Under the regulation, Special Counsel Mueller may be fired only for good cause, and I'm required to put that cause in writing.

Gingrich and Ruddy said it would be a "mistake" for Trump to remove Mueller, although both said they see the probe as unnecessary.

Rosenstein is charged with Mueller's fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation.

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