April 26, 2018

Rosenstein Says He Wouldn't Fire Special Counsel Without Good Cause

19 June 2017, 01:45 | Latoya Patrick

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of his successor James Comey at the FBI headquarters in 2013. Getty Images

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of his successor James Comey at the FBI headquarters in 2013

Mueller has been widely respected by many in Washington from both sides of the aisle, but not everyone is a fan.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he wouldn't follow orders from President Donald Trump or anyone else to fire special counsel Robert Mueller unless they were "lawful and appropriate orders".

Still, top Democrats on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee fumed that Sessions had abruptly canceled his appearance there, with Sen. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so.

Under the present circumstances, however, and not without regret, I believe that the same ethics rules the attorney general cited in his Tuesday testimony counsel against Mueller's continuing to serve in the role assigned to him.

So, Rosenstein continues, his determination on whether to carry out an order to fire Mueller depends on his judgment about whether there is good cause for him to do so.

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One late on June 13 that "while the president has the right to" fire Mueller, "he has no intention to do so".

He called because "I have been very clear" about Mr Mueller and the lawyers he has hired amounting to a "rigged game", Mr Gingrich said in an interview with news channel CBS.

"The attorney general is still responsible for answering critical questions from this committee, " Shaheen said. "And I'm not going to speculate on what he will or will not do", Mr Sekulow said.

Months before Mueller even entered the equation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation entirely.

So that would leave such a decision to Rosenstein, who just appointed Mueller on May 17 to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Investigations are now under way into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mueller's inquiry may also now include questions about whether Trump tried to influence the FBI investigation. According to the New York Times, Trump "thinks the possibility of being fired will focus [Mueller] on delivering what the president desires most: a blank public exoneration". "He's weighing that option", said Ruddy. "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair", tweeted former House Speaker and current Trump biographer Newt Gingrich.

A senior political writer for the newspaper sounded the alarm in a piece titled, "Is Robert Mueller conflicted in Trump probe?" Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. If the regulations were rescinded, Trump would no longer be required to cite any cause in removing Mueller. Comey said he believes Trump ultimately fired him "because of the Russian Federation investigation". "It would be unusual that he would have a confidential conversation and then a few days later become a prosecutor of a person he may be investigating".

"Look, the president of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive", Jay Sekulow said on ABC's "This Week."

The government let the old independent-counsel law expire in 1999 - at that point even Clinton's tormentor, investigator Kenneth Starr, suggested the law needed to change. Still, he added, "I can't imagine that that issue is going to arise".

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