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Trump weighing firing special counsel in Russian probe, close friend says

U.S. President Donald Trump has “no intention” of firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the White House has said of the former FBI director who was hired by the Department of Justice last month to lead an independent investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election.During the House hearing, New York Representative Nita Lowey asked Rosenstein if he had discussed former FBI Director James Comey’s termination with the White House, and if anyone directed him to write his recommendation of Comey’s dismissal. That leaves deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in the first place. He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “I don’t think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator”. Ruddy, a close Trump ally, told PBS NewsHour on Monday that the president is weighing the option.But he said: “I personally think it would be a very significant mistake”. Comey told senators he thought publicizing the contents of those memos would prompt the appointment of a special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation.”Time to rethink”, he tweeted on Monday, citing Mr Mueller’s hiring decisions and Mr Comey’s admission that he instructed a friend to share with reporters notes he had taken of his private conversations with Mr Trump in order to force the appointment of special counsel.Only a few days before the 45th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, could President Trump really be contemplating a reenactment of one of the most notorious episodes of that scandal: President Richard M. Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who was investigating the cover-up of that “third-rate burglary”, a power play that also cost the president his attorney general and deputy attorney general?A White House official stressed that Ruddy “speaks for himself”, not the Trump administration. He has “some real conflicts”, Ruddy said.Trump’s Twitter response followed days of intensifying criticism of Mueller from some conservatives who have charged the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director and his team with political bias and have claimed his relationship to Comey and an earlier meeting with Trump amount to conflicts of interest. Sessions has recused himself from the investigation.Trump told Holt that the entire investigation “should have been over with a long time ago”. “I think he should let Bob Mueller do his job, do his job independently, and do his job quickly because I think that that’s what he would want to have happen”.”I said that the President was indeed considering that”.The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions’ most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.Comey would not say in his testimony last week whether he thought the president sought to obstruct justice, but added it would be up to special counsel Mueller “to sort that out”.”I’m not a flak for the White House”.Look, my position is that Mueller is a man of integrity, but we all know in the history of these special investigations, they go far and wide, and they go well beyond what the original jurisdiction was.