Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said President Donald Trump has “no intention” of firing former FBI head Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the federal probe into Russian election meddling.
Speaking to reporters during an off-camera, unrecorded briefing, Sanders said Trump “has the right to” fire Mueller as special counsel but “has no intention to do so.”
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) June 14, 2017
Is Trump considering firing Mueller? "While the president has the right to he has no intention to do so," @shsanders45 says on AF1
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 14, 2017
Sanders gave a far more tentative answer when asked whether Trump has confidence in Mueller.
“I believe so,” she said, but added that she had not spoken to Trump about it.
"I believe so" @SHSanders45 says when asked if the Trump still has confidence in Independent Counsel Bob Mueller. Not a ringing endorsement.
— HansNichols (@HansNichols) June 15, 2017
Does the president still have confidence in the special counsel? "I believe so," @SHSanders45 says, adds she hasn't spoken to him.
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) June 15, 2017
White House staffers have previously asserted confidence in targets of Trump’s reported ire only to be contradicted hours later by the President himself.
Trump’s friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, on Monday said Trump was considering firing Mueller. The White House did not deny that Trump was considering the possibility but said Ruddy “never spoke to the president regarding this issue.”
The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that Mueller is investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice, a probe which will likely put Mueller in the White House’s crosshairs and which Trump attempted to delegitimize on Thursday as a “WITCH HUNT.”