Rosenstein says he's seen no good cause to fire Mueller

Show Caption

A close friend of Donald Trump's said the president "is considering perhaps terminating" special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, fueling speculation that has been building in Washington that Trump could intensify the struggle over the Russian Federation investigation.

It is not known what the two discussed in that meeting.

While Gingrich said he would not recommend that Mr. Trump should fire Mueller, he questioned the investigation's impartiality since Mueller has so far hired four Democratic attorneys.

"I think it is a consideration the President has had, because (Robert) Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel", Ruddy told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Tuesday.

Former FBI Director James Comey suggested in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that Mueller would consider whether a crime was committed when Trump allegedly told him, "I hope you can let this go", referring to an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

When Comey was sacked, he was overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Republicans in Congress are also shaking off the notion that Trump could fire Mueller. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so.

Ruddy's comments came after another highly visible Trump confidant, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, seemed to encourage Trump to make the move, tweeting that "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".

The public comments from close friends suggest Trump may be testing the waters on a decision that would be among the most controversial he has made since becoming president, recalling the "Saturday Night Massacre" when President Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox amid the Watergate investigation. "I do believe it would be catastrophic, and I do believe it would destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here", Senator Dianne Feinstein said.

Sessions' appearance before the intelligence committee is an indication of just how much the Russian Federation investigation has shaded his tenure.

The talk about dismissing Mueller appeared to be coming from Trump allies - including some close to White House strategist Steve Bannon - who are increasingly frustrated with the prospect of a long and winding probe. According to the New York Times, sources say the president was only turned off from the idea by staffer who said such an action could "turn a bad situation into a catastrophe", though said sources said the only thing stopping him was the idea the threat of firing Mueller would speak for itself.

When asked if he thought the attorneys were "anti-Trump", Gingrich responded, "Well all four gave money to the Democrats", and later laughed off a suggestion that they were the best attorneys Mueller could find. The person demanded anonymity to discuss strategy on the sensitive matter. "Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately", Rosenstein said.

"I never said I spoke to the President", he added.

In yet another blow to the president's agenda, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Trump's executive order limiting travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries.

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