A senior Democratic congressman has said it would be “the last straw” if Donald Trump fired special prosecutor Robert Mueller – as it was reported that the President was considering getting rid of the man appointed to investigate his campaign's ties to Russia.
Congressman Adam Schiff, the most senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Congress would not sit still if Mr Trump fired Mr Mueller and tried to appoint his own replacement. Mr Mueller is currently heading an investigation into whether Trump campaign advisers colluded with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 US election.
“I don't think the Congress would sit still and allow the president to pick his own investigator,” he said.
Mr Schiff spoke out after a friend of Mr Trump, Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, emerged from the White House and said the President was considering “terminating” Mr Mueller.
In an interview with PBS, Mr Ruddy said: “I think [Mr Trump's] weighing that option.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an email statement to reporters that “Mr Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue.”
“With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorised to comment,” Mr Spicer added.
Mr Mueller, a former FBI Director, was appointed by the Justice Department to oversee the Russia probe after Mr Trump fired his FBI chief James Comey.
While Mr Comey told a Senate committee last week that Mr Trump was not under an FBI investigation at the time of his dismissal on 9 May, the President now appears to be under an investigation for possible obstruction of justice.
Mr Comey testified that he believed the President had directed him to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Mr Flynn had been forced to resign from his position after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
“Do you believe this will rise to obstruction of justice?” Democratic senator Joe Manchin asked Mr Comey during the hearing.
The ex-FBI chief responded, “I don’t know. That — that’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out.”
Mr Trump has openly criticised the Justice Department's decision to appoint a special counsel, saying that it “hurts our country terribly”.
The President has also posited that the naming of a special counsel “also happens to be a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won”.
A decision by Mr Trump to sack Mr Mueller could smell even more 'Nixonian' than his choice to fire his FBI Director.
Former President Richard Nixon fired his special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been appointed to oversee the federal criminal investigation that would snowball into the Watergate scandal.
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