Friend says Trump is considering 'terminating' Mueller

Trump ally and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has had a change of heart about the special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation, Robert Mueller, whose naming he had previously endorsed.

Going even further was Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, who suggested the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller in an interview with Judy Woodruff of "PBS NewsHour".

"I think you'll find in this latest allegation that the Russian ambassador was one of 90 people in a room, and then he rode home and said 'I met with Senator Sessions because it made him look good, '" said Gingrich.

Well, it appears that Ruddy was right all along - he pointed out after the fact that the White House never denied the claim - as the New York Times is now reporting that the president has indeed entertained the idea.

Mueller is leading the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and potential ties between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign.

Yesterday, Politico reported that Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow refused to rule out the president interfering with or ordering Attorney General Jeff Sessions to relieve Mueller of his duties. Trump surrogates like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich don't believe Trump would take such an explosive step.

In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Rosenstein may be asked to address the issue when he speaks at a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday morning. Gingrich, however, worries. Trump called because "I have been very clear" about Mueller and the lawyers he's hired amounting to a "rigged game", Gingrich said.

"The brazen redefinition of Mueller's task tells you how arrogant the deep state is and how confident it is it can get away with anything", he added.

After news of Ruddy's interview surfaced, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, tweeted: "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

"Director Mueller is going to have the full independence he needs to conduct that investigation, " Rosenstein said. Several Trump critics noted that Gingrich previously had tweeted that Mueller was a "superb choice to be special counsel" and that his reputation was "impeccable for honesty and integrity". The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

"Look at his foreign trip, which was a tour de force", said Gingrich, rejecting a comment from a CBS interviewer that the European portion of the president's trip through the Middle East and Europe was "not good".

Trump interviewed Mueller for the director's position days before Rosenstein picked Mueller as special counsel for the Russian Federation probe, Sanders confirmed Tuesday.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Ruddy's remarks.

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

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he could not elaborate on.

  • Joey Payne