No longer out of bounds: Trump allies question Mueller probe

A long-time friend of Mr Donald Trump has said that the US President was considering whether to fire Mr Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between Mr Trump's election campaign and Russian officials. An order from the president would not necessarily qualify, he said.

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.

Trump surrogates like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich don't believe Trump would take such an explosive step.

Mueller had earned the respect by both Democrats and Republicans during his 12-year leadership as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, serving both the Bush and Obama presidencies from 2001-2013.

"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.

"I think he's weighing that option", said Ruddy. "I personally think it would be a significant mistake".

Firing Mueller after a month in the post would be an explosive political step and inevitably raise concerns that the president was trying to obstruct an investigation affecting the White House.

Ryan told reporters Tuesday: "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job".

It's hard to say how much credibility should be attached to Christopher Ruddy's remark on PBS and later on CNN.

"If there were not good cause, it would not matter to me what anybody said", he said.

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".

Rosenstein told lawmakers during a Justice Department budget hearing on Tuesday that he hasn't seen a "good cause" for firing Mueller.

Multiple House Republicans said that there was no discussion about the special counsel at the weekly GOP meeting. From what I know of his reputation, he's an honest, no-nonsense, effective prosecutor.

The Deputy Attorney General then went on to explain that the Cole Memo, which was issued by former President Obama's Justice Department back in 2013, giving states the freedom to experiment with the legalization of marijuana, might be on borrowed time.

The NYT noted that Trump has become increasingly angry over the thought that Mueller is part of a partisan "witch hunt" against him when it comes to the Russian collusion story.

Mr Mueller is in the earliest stages of his investigation and still building up his team that will lead the probe.

The CEO is Newsmax Media called Mueller "illegitimate" as a special counsel because the investigation itself has no basis.

Tuesday morning, Trump supporter Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W. Bush's press secretary, again highlighted the issue of Mueller's probe being handled by attorneys who have donated mostly to Democrats, a message that Donald Trump Jr. quickly retweeted to his own 1.7 million followers.

Rosenstein, who was speaking before the senate appropriations committee because Sessions has recused himself from all matters related to the Russian Federation investigation, said that only he has the authority in the justice department to fire Mueller and that he would do so only if the president's orders are "lawful and appropriate".