Lawmakers from both parties warn against dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller, but President Trump may do it anyway. The president is angry about FBI raids to obtain records from his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
The White House said Tuesday that President Trump believes he has the authority to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lawmakers from both parties warned against doing so, after the FBI raided properties tied to the president’s longtime lawyer. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Mueller “should be allowed to finish his job,” though he rebuffed calls for legislation to protect the special counsel. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it would be “suicide” for Trump to fire the special counsel. Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said the president “certainly believes he has the power” to fire Mueller directly. The special prosecutor is examining Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and whether associates of Trump colluded with Moscow.
On Monday, FBI agents searched properties connected to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, seizing records including those related to a $130,000 payment he made weeks before the 2016 election to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, professionally known as Stormy Daniels. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, personally approved the raids. That revelation was likely to increase pressure on Rosenstein, who was appointed by the president. Former federal prosecutor Jimmy Gurulé said Mueller is operating under a statute enacted by Congress that “expressly provides that the deputy attorney general has the authority to fire the special counsel—but even then, only for cause.” Gurulé said the president would likely argue that as the chief executive officer, he has the authority to fire anyone who works in the executive branch.