Washington: President Donald Trump has “no intention” of firing special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating the alleged Russian meddling in last year’s US presidential polls, the White House has said. The White House clarification has come amidst reports that Trump is contemplating firing Mueller.
“While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters abroad Air Force One flying back from Wisconsin to Washington DC. In a major story, The New York Times claimed that Trump was angered by reports that Mueller was close to fired FBI Director James Comey and entertained the idea of firing the special counsel.
“In recent days, the president has told his staff, his visitors, and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced Mueller, like Comey, his successor as director of the FBI, was part of a “witch hunt” by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office,” the daily said.
Trump has made no decision to act against Mueller and insists that he knows the risks of doing so — but people close to the president say Trump is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised, The New York Times said.
Several lawmakers came out in support of Mueller. Congressman Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said he has “confidence” in Mueller. “The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job,” he told reporters. “I do believe it would be catastrophic, and I do believe it would destroy any shred of trust in the president’s judgment that remains over here,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said.
Mueller was appointed by US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US polls. On Monday, speculation was stoked that Trump was considering terminating Mueller, after a confidante of the president suggested it was under consideration.