WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Tuesday, June 13, about the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign (all times Eastern Daylight Time).
- 10:40 a.m.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia investigation.
The comment came in response to questions from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. She asked about news reports suggesting President Donald Trump was already thinking about “terminating” Robert Mueller from his position as special counsel. She asked whether he has seen “any evidence of good cause” to fire Mueller.”No I have not,” Rosenstein responded.
Rosenstein said the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller. And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein acted in that capacity.
He said he was confident that Mueller would have “the full independence he needs” to investigate thoroughly.
- 10:25 a.m.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Trump administration official and the president should let the special counsel’s investigation continue, and await vindication.
“The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job,” Ryan told reporters.
Ryan commented in response to a Trump friend, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, who suggested the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller. Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Ryan said the smartest thing for the president to do would be to let the investigation continue and be vindicated.
“I know Bob Mueller. I have confidence in Bob Mueller,” said Ryan.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Congress would not sit still if President Donald Trump decided to fire the special counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, says such a move would “be the last straw” for many in Congress and would have “echoes of Watergate,” when President Richard Nixon dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox over Cox’s subpoenas for White House tapes.
Trump’s allies have begun raising questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s impartiality _ he’s a former FBI director who has worked with fired FBI Director James Comey _ and floating the idea that Trump might replace him.
Schiff says that if Trump fires Mueller, Congress might name its own independent counsel to investigate the case. He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “I don’t think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator.”
- 4:26 a.m.
High-profile supporters of President Trump have turned on special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I think he’s weighing that option,” Ruddy said in an interview iwth Judy Woodruff of PBS.
Under current Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, not the president — though those regulations could theoretically be set aside.