WASHINGTON (AP) - The special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign is now examining whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.
Chris Ruddy, a Trump friend and the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax, raised the possibility of the president considering terminating Mueller, a potentially explosive option. The dismissal would come, he said due to reports of conflicts of interest involving Mueller and White House officials.
The US Secret Service has said it doesn't have any recordings or transcripts of any tapes recorded within President Donald Trump's White House, a disclosure that failed to rule out whether any tapes exist of Trump's conversations with ousted FBI Director James Comey.
CNBC journalist Kayla Tausche saw Ruddy leave the White House before making the news on Monday morning.
NPR reported last week that Mueller had been on the White House shortlist to succeed Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director before the Justice Department named him as special counsel.
Trump had received private assurances from then FBI director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation.
"I don't think donations are disqualifying at all, but if you represented the Clinton Foundation or Mrs. Clinton herself, that would be a bit disturbing", Graham said.
The White House forcefully disputed Ruddy's claims, saying he speaks for himself, not the president.
The Post, citing unnamed sources, said the investigation into the president's own conduct began shortly after Trump fired Comey on May 9.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job", he told reporters. I think it's very clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.
That statement was unlikely to quell criticism of Mueller from some of Trump's closest allies - including one of his sons.
Yet by doing so, Comey provided Trump's defense team an opening to question his coziness with Mueller. Bob Corker said Tuesday.
Rosenstein is scheduled to testify today before both Senate and House subcommittees regarding the Justice Department's budget, and he is likely to be questioned about Mueller's status.
Asked about Trump's own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves".
Asked about it on ABC this weekend, Jay Sekulow said that if there were a serious basis for it, the president would be allowed: "Whether he would do it is ultimately a decision the president makes".
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