Attorney General Sessions Set to Testify in Russia Probe Hearing

Soon it could get even crazier.

Speaking at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing today (June 13), Rosenstein confirmed Trump could not legally outright fire Mueller himself, and assured senators that the Justice Department has given Mueller the "full independence he needs to conduct that investigation".

This isn't just inside-the-Beltway gossip.

'With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment'.

Then on Monday, Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy, a right-wing media executive, told "PBS NewsHour": "I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel". "I think he's weighing that option".

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a vocal Trump ally who only last month called Mueller a "superb choice" with an "impeccable" reputation, turned against Mueller on Twitter early Monday morning before Ruddy's remarks, pointing to Mueller's hiring of lawyers who have donated to Democratic political campaigns.

The special counsel can only be fired for "good cause", and Rosenstein himself would have to put that justification in writing, he said.

After initially being praised by Republicans and Democrats for his integrity, Mueller has had his impartiality as special counsel questioned by some Trump supporters in recent days. They didn't explain how they'd push that idea through a Republican Congress.

The Ninth Circuit, said to be the most liberal of the federal courts of appeal, predictably upheld an injunction on Monday on Trump's revised travel ban temporarily preventing citizens from six Muslim-majority nations - Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia - from entering the US. Mueller was appointed to investigate whether Trump or his associates had links to Russian hackers, and Trump lacks the direct authority to dismiss him. I spent 27 years in the Department of Justice.

According to Justice Department rules, special counsel Robert Mueller can not be fired without good cause.

The objective of my appointment of Special Counsel Mueller was to ensure that there'd be public confidence in the outcome of that investigation, and he now has responsibility for that, and I think that if there are any questions, they should be directed at him, and I know he's going to do the right thing as I would and defend the integrity of the investigation.

Rosenstein would probably refuse.

The White House appeared blindsided by it, but took hours to address it, triggering speculation it was, one, a plan indeed and Moody was testing the waters for Trump, and two, it was an attempt by a anxious administration to intimidate the counsel and the formidable team of lawyers he was putting together.

But then things got interesting. In 1973, Nixon turned to the third-ranking Justice official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, who fired Cox in his capacity as acting attorney general.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter offered a similar message, tweeting, "Now that we know TRUMP IS NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION, Sessions should take it back & fire Mueller".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday having an undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the USA or conversations with any Russian officials about the US election that sent Donald Trump to the White House. But the counter-pressure would also be strong. Brian Schatz, describing Sessions' recusal beyond a broad statement that he would not be involved in matters arising from the 2016 election, according to reports. It's unclear whether the president could override those rules and order Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

For many, the prospect of Mueller's firing immediately brought to mind the 1973 dismissal of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal. Trump reportedly told top Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that pressure is now taken off after firing Comey.

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