White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday night said that President Donald Trump has "no intention" of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the Russian Federation probe.
Trump has made it clear that he is frustrated by the U.S. probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, which United States intelligence officials said was done to tilt the outcome in Trump's favor.
"While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so", deputy White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday when asked if Trump meant to fire Mueller.
Spicer had said that Ruddy was at the White House Monday to meet with White House aides, but did not speak with the president. It marks a rather stark change of views for the former House speaker, who just a month ago tweeted that Mr Mueller was a "superb choice" as special counsel.
But he did note Tuesday morning in an email to Politico that a subsequent statement from White House press secretary Sean Spicer "doesn't deny my claim the President is considering firing Mueller" and that Ruddy never claimed to have spoken with Trump about Mueller.
The appearances, however, are likely to be overshadowed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions' public appearance at a Senate intelligence committee hearing.
Still, it took until Tuesday night for the White House to actually dispute Ruddy's suspicion. "No, I have not", Rosenstein said.
But behind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Trump's interactions. Paul Rothstein of Georgetown University, who affirmed the legality of a hypothetical Mueller firing, but noted the "tremendous political repercussions".
Republicans are "delusional" if they think Mueller is going to be a fair investigator, Gingrich said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. Gingrich said he is troubled by Democratic donations of Mueller's picks to help lead the probe. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Issuing such a threat could constitute obstruction of justice by the president.
The president is nonetheless angered by the probe, which he has described as a "witch hunt", The New York Times reported. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment".
The Senate testimony of ex-FBI boss James Comey dominated the headlines last week, but the latest announcements from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation could be a more ominous indication of trouble on the horizon for the Trump administration.