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Close friend of Trump says he’s considering firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller

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The war on Mueller intensifies.

Chris Ruddy and Trump CREDIT: @ChrisRuddyNMX

Chris Ruddy, CEO of the right-wing media company NewsMax, is a close friend of President Donald Trump. They golf together. On Monday, Ruddy visited the White House.

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Shortly after leaving the White House, Ruddy appeared on PBS Newshour and said that Trump is considering firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller, who is investigating the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, and related matters.

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Ruddy’s comments followed days of seemingly coordinated attacks on Mueller’s integrity by Trump allies. On Sunday, Jay Sekulow, who recently joined Trump’s legal team, would not rule out the firing of Mueller. “Look, the president of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive,” Sekulow said.

Could Trump actually fire Mueller? Probably, but it would be very difficult.

Federal regulations says special prosecutors can be “removed from office only by the personal action of the Attorney General.” Here, that would mean Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the matter. According to the regulations, Rosenstein could only remove Mueller “for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”

Last week, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) “asked Rosenstein to provide a letter to Mueller that assure he will be fully independent as he leads the Justice Department’s investigation into potential collusion between associates of the Trump campaign and Russia.” Rosenstein refused.

Theoretically, Trump could order Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Rosenstein could refuse to do so, but Trump could then fire Rosenstein and find a replacement who would do his bidding.

The check against Trump firing Mueller is less legal than political. If Trump fired Mueller, who is widely respected by members of both parties, would Republicans in Congress take action? Ranking House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) seems to think so.

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Schiff’s optimism assumes Republicans will impose a level of accountability on Trump not seen to date. Firing Mueller, however, would be an cataclysmic event that could change the political dynamics.


Close friend of Trump says he’s considering firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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