Ryan, McCarthy Call Talk Of Mueller Firing A ‘Rumor That’s Not Happening’

AP

Two top Republicans on Tuesday accused journalists of “creating a debate” and “creating a rumor that’s not happening” regarding President Donald Trump’s potential firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Asked about Mueller during his weekly press briefing Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) echoed his comment to radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier Tuesday — that Mueller should be allowed to work independently.

“Yeah, I mean all I’ve heard —  much are rumors, but I think, in the best case for the President, is to be vindicated by allowing this investigation to go on thoroughly and independently. So I think the best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job.”

Ryan dodged a question about whether he would stand by the President if he decided to sack Mueller.

Later, when Ryan was asked if he had shared his thoughts about Mueller with Trump, Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pitched in from off-stage.

“There’s no debate that’s going on here, you’re saying,” Ryan responded, looking at McCarthy.

The majority leader piped up, off mic: “You’re creating a debate that’s not happening.”

Ryan added: “This is — I heard this is like a rumor we heard last night. So there’s really not some big debate that’s occurring on this.”

The reporter pressed: “And would Congress be interested in re-upping the special prosecutor law?”

“You’re creating — like I said, Kevin just said it, you’re creating a debate that’s not occurring here. This is something that I think is a rumor that came out last night.”

“You’re creating a rumor that’s not happening,” McCarthy said.

Ryan returned to recapping the House Republican conference’s recent policy victories, frustrated at having been derailed.

“I am not saying this isn’t important,” he added later. “These investigations are important. They need to be independent. They need to be thorough. They need to go where the facts go, but we also have a duty to serve the people that elected us to fix the problems that they’re confronting in their daily lives and that’s what we’re doing.”

The rumor Ryan referenced may have been Newsmax CEO and friend of Trump’s Christopher Ruddy, who said Monday, “I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he’s weighing that option,” referring to Trump. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said of the claim that Rudy “never spoke to the President regarding this issue.” But Rudy didn’t change his position, and in fact scolded Spicer to Politico, writing: “Don’t waste time trying to undermine one of your few allies.”

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) said Monday that Mueller’s investigation “seems more like an effort to prosecute Donald Trump than it is to investigate.”

“What the hell are we investigating?” he said. “Why are we going through with this charade?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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