Trump friend: Mueller 'illegitimate as special counsel'

One of Donald Trump's friends said Monday he believes the president is considering dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to lead the FBI investigation into Russia's potential ties to the 2016 election.

"If there were not good cause, it would not matter to me what anybody said", he said.

"If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says".

Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, has gone so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about "terminating" Mueller. He said there is no cause to consider removal, and that that the Attorney General's office alone would make that decision with the special counsel.

When asked to clarify the boundaries of Attorney General Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation probe, Rosenstein said, "I know what we're investigating and (Sessions) does not".

Ruddy told CNN on Tuesday that Mueller and Trump "had a private conversation" and suggested it was "unethical" before the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director was named special counsel. "Rosenstein said today he would not fire Mueller".

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Mueller was succeeded by James Comey, who was sacked by Trump last month while he was overseeing the investigation into potential Russian interference into last year's election and potential collusion with the Trump presidential campaign. There is increasing concern at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation could overshadow the president's agenda for months to come.

"I personally think it would be a very significant mistake", Ruddy added.

"Let me give you a little bit of insight from inside the West Wing right now", Ryan said.

He is scheduled to testify before two congressional hearings on Tuesday and is likely to face even more pointed questions about the Russian Federation probe and the independence of the Justice Department in light of Ruddy's comments.

The question on the minds of many of those in Congress was whether Sessions was aware of Trump's possible ulterior motive in firing the former FBI Director Comey from his post.

The speaker listed the policy issues that congressional Republicans were focused on like a bill on the House floor this week to improve accountability for veterans' health care, telling reporters, "We are focused on solving people's problems".

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Ryan echoed that sentiment, calling the reports about the president possibly moving to fire Mueller "a rumor". An order from the president would not necessarily qualify, he said. The Times report said that Trump considered firing Mueller, something TheDC's source confirmed. That's at least how it seemed when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the special counsel for the US DOJ on May 17.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about Ruddy's claims. "At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors".

The memo reportedly recommended Comey's dismissal for having mishandled the Department of Justice investigation into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails, according to VICE. He did not notify White House or Attorney General in advance of his move.

Gingrich tweeted, "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".

Trump does have the authority to remove the special counsel.

Later on Monday night, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement saying Ruddy never spoke to the president, adding that only the "president or his attorneys are authorized to comment".

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