As noted earlier, on Monday evening Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of the conservative news site and TV network Newsmax, caused a media uproar when he said during an interview on “PBS NewsHour” that Trump is thinking about firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election interference.
As NBC noted last night, it is open to question how reliable Ruddy’s comments are. “He is often described as a close friend of Trump’s, and reporters spotted him leaving the White House on Monday. But a source familiar with the visit told NBC News that any meeting Ruddy was to have had with the president was postponed. Still, his remarks prompted this reply on Twitter from Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, who said the committee would simply reappoint Mueller and then advised the president: “Don’t waste our time.”
So following up on that particular thread, moments ago Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaking at a Senate Appropriations Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday said he has not seen “good cause” to fire Robert Mueller.
Rosenstein clarified that he has the authority to hire and fire Mueller, and not Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Have you seen good cause for firing Mueller?” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Rosenstein.
“I have not,” he replied.
The exchange was notable because the Deputy AG essentially assured the Senate that Administration will follow 28 CFR 600.7, which says that only he can fire Mueller and only for good cause.
Senator Susan Collins then pressed him on reports that the administration is considering firing Mueller, asking whether he would fire Mueller if President Trump ordered him to do so.
“I am not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate,” he said, explaining that under federal regulations, Mueller can only be fired for good cause and that reason would have to be put in writing. The deputy AG also said that Mueller may be fired “only for good cause and I am required to put that cause in writing.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 13, 2017
Meanwhile, aside from launching several angry tweets targeting “fake news” this morning without much context, Trump has yet to make a statement either way on his view toward Mueller.