Chris Ruddy, a friend of President Donald Trump, on Monday evening said that the President is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russia probe.
“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he’s weighing that option,” Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, said on PBS “NewsHour.” I think it’s pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently. I personally think it would be a very significant mistake.”
The White House distanced Trump from Ruddy but did not deny that Trump is considering such a move.
Following Ruddy’s appearance on PBS, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Ruddy and Trump never talked about Mueller.
“Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue,” Spicer said. “With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Chris speaks for himself.”
Ruddy’s comments came as several conservatives began to question whether Mueller could be impartial in overseeing the Russia probe. However, it’s unclear whether Trump is truly considering firing Mueller.
Ruddy told PBS that he was concerned about conflicts of interest Mueller might have, revealing that Trump interviewed Mueller for the FBI director position just one day before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named him as the special counsel.
“There are some real conflicts. He comes from a law firm that represents members of the Trump family,” Ruddy said on PBS. “I know for a fact that he was under consideration and that the President did talk with him in the days before he was named special counsel. I think there’s a conflict there.”
He added that he would it was “strange” that Mueller would accept the special counsel position after having a “confidential conversation” with Trump that may have included the Russia probe.
An unnamed senior White House official confirmed to the New York Times that Trump spoke with Mueller about the FBI director position the day before Rosenstein announced he would be the special counsel.
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