Newly-appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Tuesday that he has previously advised President Donald Trump not to fire Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing an investigation into last year’s presidential election.
Mueller, appointed in the wake of Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, is overseeing a probe of Russia’s efforts to interfere in last year’s presidential election and is also examining allegations that individuals with ties to Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia in those efforts. And while the White House has sought to tamp down suggestions that Trump might fire Mueller, the president has not shied away from expressing his frustrations with the ongoing investigation. People close to Trump have suggested that firing Mueller could be a possibility.
Scaramucci, who joined the White House last week, said he has spoken to the president about Mueller and counseled him to leave the special prosecutor in place.
“I’ll be on the record with this: In candid conversations with the president, I’ve said, ‘why would you fire him?’” Scaramucci told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in a Tuesday morning interview.
The communications director quickly pivoted to the question of presidential pardons and whether Trump would issue them for campaign staffers, family members, White House officials or himself in relation to the Russia investigations. The Washington Post reported last week that the president has inquired about his power to issue pardons, and Trump himself wrote on Twitter Saturday that that the president has "complete power to pardon."
But Scaramucci said Tuesday that any discussion of pardons was nonsense because neither the president nor anybody tied to his campaign had done anything improper. That the president’s son-in-law and aide Jared Kushner, after testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, stood before the media Monday and declared that he had not colluded with any foreign government and was not aware of any such activity within the campaign is proof of a clean conscience.
“People bring up this nonsense about the pardoning. There’s absolutely no reason to bring up the pardoning. So here’s what happens, is there’s, like, media flash points or dog whistles in the media. If a two-minute pardoning conversation comes — ‘oh, he’s going to want to pardon himself,’” Scaramucci said. “He does not need to pardon himself. He’s done absolutely nothing wrong. He’s going to be completely exonerated.”