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Schiff says firing Mueller would echo Watergate

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He told senators during a committee hearing that there would have to be "good cause" for Mueller to be removed from his role. Rosenstein responded: "No I have not".

Ryan has generally tolerated every action by the president, but today he suggested that even he may have a line ― albeit an amorphous and theoretical one that may not be firm.

And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is acting in that capacity.

"They're clearly afraid of Mueller and his independence and the thoroughness of the investigation he's likely to lead", said Schiff.

"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue", Spicer said. "I think he should let Bob Mueller do his job, do his job independently, and do his job quickly because I think that that's what he would want to have happen".

Trump allies in the conservative press have increasingly argued in recent days that the president should fire special counsel Robert Mueller - and on Monday night, a friend of Trump's said on television that he'd heard (through aides) that the president was considering doing just that. Coulter suggested that because Comey had testified that Trump hadn't been personally under investigation while he was FBI director, the objective of Mueller's commission "is now over". Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., if he's seen any reason for Mueller to be fired, Rosenstein said, "I have not". He is "confident", he said, that Mueller has full independence.

There had been some question as to whether the hearing would be open to the public, but the Justice Department said Monday he requested it be so because he "believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him".

Democratic senators repeatedly criticized Sessions for dispatching Rosenstein to testify Tuesday in his place about the Justice Department's budget to an Appropriations subcommittee.

Leahy told Rosenstein "you are not the witness who should be behind this table".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has confidence in the Department of Justice's special counsel investigating Russian interference in USA elections.

Ryan's comments come after Chris Ruddy, a close friend of the president, said Trump is "considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel" who is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, said 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.

But House members could use it as a chance to grill Rosenstein about other topics, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Rosenstein's decision to tap former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing that probe.

Mueller was the Federal Bureau of Investigation director from 2001 to 2013. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment".

Lawmakers for weeks have demanded answers from Sessions, particularly about meetings he had last summer and fall with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

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