Comey Firing Could be Part of Special Counsel Investigation, Rosenstein Says

“I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don’t think there is a justification [for a special counsel]”.The Wisconsin Republican commented in response to a Trump friend, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, who suggested Monday night that the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller from his position as special counsel.”I think it’s pretty clear based on what one of his lawyers said on television recently”.”While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so”, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One flying back from Wisconsin to Washington DC.Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assured Congress Tuesday that he would obey a presidential order to fire Mueller only if it were “lawful and appropriate”.President Donald Trump confirmed Friday he was under investigation and appeared to take aim at a senior Justice Department official, in a tweet that seemed to encapsulate his frustration with the ongoing focus on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.But after the evidence of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey last week, Mr Gingrich said he had changed his mind.Ruddy said a good case can be made that Mueller is an “illegitimate special counsel”, explaining that Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Harvard law grad and former Judge Advocate General prosecutor, told him the special counsel law calls for there to be an underlying criminal probe to trigger appointment of special counsel.Rosenstein is scheduled to testify Tuesday before both Senate and House subcommittees regarding the Justice Department’s budget, and he is likely to be questioned about Mueller’s status.Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Ruddy’s remarks.In appointing Mueller last month, Rosenstein said that the “public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command”.Another complication is that under the independent counsel statute, Trump can’t fire Mueller.Trump does have the authority to remove the special counsel.The meeting comes amid reports that Trump considered firing Mueller, only to change his mind after aides and political allies warned him that it would be politically damaging. “I think it’s a threat to the Trump presidency”.He also added that he does not believe a special counsel is necessary. Trump decided he had to fire Flynn on February 13, saying even as he did so that Flynn had done nothing wrong and shouldn’t be punished.”We’re not going to let the President choose who conducts this investigation”, he said. Rosenstein responded: “No I have not”.Second, he said Congress could muck up Mueller’s investigation. “If there were good cause, I would consider it; if there weren’t good cause, it wouldn’t matter to me what anybody said”.