The Justice Department official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe says he would ignore calls to fire Mueller unless he considered them “lawful.”
“I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe they are lawful,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during a Senate hearing amid media reports that President Donald Trump has been weighing whether to oust Mueller, possibly in an attempt to halt the politically sensitive investigation.
Rosenstein said Trump hadn’t asked him any questions about Mueller’s appointment but that he would ignore even a request from the president if he deemed it inappropriate. “If it were not good cause, it wouldn’t matter what anybody said,” Rosenstein told the Senate appropriations committee.
Rosenstein said he hadn’t seen any cause to fire Mueller, who’s investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether any associates of the president colluded with Russians during the campaign.
And he said he would ensure that Mueller would operate free of interference throughout the probe. "Director Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence he needs to conduct the investigation appropriately."