White House torn over Mueller's role as pressure grows

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A close friend of President Donald Trump said Monday that Trump is "considering" firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director the Justice Department put in charge of the Russian Federation investigation.

President Donald Trump interviewed Robert Mueller as a potential replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey the day before the former FBI director was named special counsel, a White House official said Tuesday.

"I think he's weighing that option", Ruddy told PBS NewsHour.

"He apparently couldn't find a single pro-Trump attorney to hire, and I just think that's a rigged game, and I think that it's a mistake to pretend this is going to be some neutral investigation", Gingrich said on CBS This Morning.

In his interview Ruddy claimed Trump had interviewed Mueller for the position of Federal Bureau of Investigation director several days before Rosenstein appointed him special counsel.

During the hearing, Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Trump campaign-Russia investigation.

Despite Spicer distancing the White House from Ruddy's allegations, Trump does have the power to sack Mueller. "Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Spicer said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is to appear Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own inquiry into the matters before Mueller.

According to a senior White House aide, there are no private conversations taking place about firing Mueller, and a White House spokesperson said Ruddy "speaks for himself". But I'm noticing a trend here: If something is bad for Republicans, Newt thinks it should be abolished.

Pundits on both sides of the aisle agree the optics of firing Mueller at this point would be damaging to the president. US Justice Department regulations outline that a special counsel can be fired by the US attorney general "for cause".

The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president's agenda for months to come - a prospect that has Democrats salivating.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said. Asked whether he felt Trump's behavior amounts to obstruction of justice, he replied: "I don't know, that's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out".

Reporters spotted Ruddy leaving the White House Monday.

Now that we FINALLY got Comey to admit Trump not under investigation, Sessions should fire Mueller.

Mueller was appointed on May 17 by the Justice Department as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 USA elections and related matters.

Trump had also interviewed Mueller for the role of FBI director before Mueller was appointed special counsel in charge of the Russian Federation investigation. Trump reportedly told top Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that pressure is now taken off after firing Comey. "I have confidence in Bob Mueller". The next day, Comey says Trump summoned him to dinner to ask for his loyalty. The political implications of firing Mueller would be meteoric, and perhaps too self-destructive even for Trump.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior declined to comment on the possibility of Trump seeking to remove Mueller.