The only man who can fire special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign, says he sees no good cause to do so.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified Tuesday that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate".
While legal analysts say Trump cannot do this as the law mandates that the special counsel can only be appointed and fired by the Office of the Attorney General and NOT by the president, this news just all the more highlights the nagging question as to why Trump has been demonizing the investigation.
Said Ryan: "I know Bob Mueller".
Mueller is the special counsel within the FBI who's been brought in to head the investigation into Trump and the Russian connection.
Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, was appointed on May 17 and is tasked with investigating Russian interference in last year's presidential election and if associates of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials. It was called the "Saturday night massacre" when on October 20, 1973 President Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus after they refused to fire Archibald Cox, who had been appointed special prosecutor in the Watergate cover-up scandal.
Rosenstein also said that having made political contributions "is not a disqualification" from working for the special counsel leading the Russian Federation investigation.
"I know what we're investigating and he does not", Rosenstein said to Sen. But his comment left open the possibility that the investigation does cover the chain of events that led to Trump firing Comey. "I personally think it would be a significant mistake, even though I don't think there is a justification [for a special counsel]". "We did not talk about the Mueller investigation, but I still stand by it was being considered as an option, or at the least, the information I had as of yesterday and again, the president's own attorney had said this".
Rosenstein said "I think the answer is no" but said it would depend on the circumstances.
He is the Acting Attorney General in this case. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment", White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NPR. And Rosenstein said Mueller could not be fired without his personal assent.
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".
"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said.
"Mr Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Mr Spicer said.
Sam Nunberg, who worked for Trump's presidential campaign, said it "could seem to be a conflict" for Mueller to first interview with the president to be a possible replacement for Comey and then days later to be named as the special counsel heading an investigation that could look into Comey's firing.