Donald Trump made himself a television star by firing people. Washington is abuzz today with speculation that he’s about to revive that act in the White House, where it almost certainly would boomerang on him.
Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump pal who is chief executive of Newsmax Media, told reporters on Monday that he believes Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the Justice Department’s special counsel investigating Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s U.S. election.
"I think it is a consideration the President has had because Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel," Ruddy said on CNN this morning.
Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose specialty these days is delivering unsolicited political advice to his fellow Republicans, is making the rounds on morning news programs today to recount a conversation he had with Trump on Monday night about his concerns that Mueller’s investigation is rigged against the president.
Trump “called me because I’ve been very clear about the fact that Mueller hiring four Democrats — his first four attorneys are all Democrats,” Gingrich said on “CBS This Morning." Based on that, the former House leader asserted that it’s “a mistake to think this is going to be some neutral investigation.”
Ruddy advised Trump not to dismiss Mueller, though he insisted that “the basis of his investigation is flim-flam.” Gingrich said he believes the president has no plans to dismiss the special counsel.
Speculation about Mueller’s future comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to testify at a hearing this afternoon in the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sessions is certain to be grilled about his role in Trump’s dismissal last month of former FBI Director James Comey. The Comey firing led to Mueller’s hiring as special counsel and Comey’s dramatic Senate testimony last week in which he accused Trump of pushing him to end the Russia probe.
It also led to suggestions by some Democratic lawmakers that the House should open hearings that could lead to Trump’s impeachment on charges of obstruction of justice. Mueller’s dismissal would transform those suggestions into demands and likely would erode the president’s support among congressional Republicans as well.
In a brief meeting with reporters this morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan, perhaps Trump’s most important congressional ally, delivered an unspoken but nonetheless clear message to the president: leave Mueller alone. “I think he should let Bob Mueller do his job, do his job independently, and do his job quickly, because I think that that's what he would want to have happen,” Ryan said.
At the other end of the Capitol, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said Monday that it would be a “disaster” if Trump were to fire the special prosecutor, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, said such a move would be “extraordinarily unwise.” Perhaps most tellingly, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man responsible for hiring Mueller, told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that the prosecutor has done nothing that would warrant dismissal.
Office: Common Cause National