The Latest: White House says no plan to fire Mueller
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the dismissal of Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election (all times local):
The White House says President Donald Trump isn’t thinking about or talking about firing special counsel Robert Mueller.
That’s the late word from White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who released a statement late Sunday after a series of Trump tweets led members of Congress and others to speculate that the president may be considering orchestrating Mueller’s firing.
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election - a probe Trump believes is politically motivated. Mueller is also looking at Trump for possible obstruction of justice related to his decision last May to fire James Comey as FBI director.
Cobb’s statement says: “In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s attorney is criticizing President Donald Trump’s weekend tweets as evidence that McCabe’s firing was improper.
In a tweet Sunday, Michael Bromwich says McCabe won’t be responding to Trump’s “childish, defamatory, disgusting & false” tweets. But he says the tweets confirm a “corrupted” process in which McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last Friday. Bromwich promises the “whole truth will come out in due course.”
Over the weekend, Trump called McCabe’s firing “a great day for democracy” and blasted special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as politically biased.
McCabe has been a frequent target of Trump’s anger and criticism. The Associated Press reported that McCabe’s memos have been provided to Mueller, who’s investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they want to review whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was justified.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says the committee should hold a public hearing so Sessions can “come forward with whatever documentation he has about the firing and give Mr. McCabe a chance to defend himself.”
Sen. Jeff Flake says he’s “very surprised” that McCabe was fired before an inspector general’s report was released. That report is expected to conclude McCabe was not forthcoming about matters related to the FBI investigation of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Addressing the Russia probe, Graham says if President Donald Trump attempted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it would be “the beginning of the end of his presidency.”
The senators spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
A Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee is criticizing the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe as premature.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t like “the way it happened” because it came just two days before McCabe had planned to retire.
Rubio suggests that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may not have had full justification to fire McCabe because an inspector general report expected to be critical of McCabe in the Hillary Clinton email investigation has yet to be released.
McCabe has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s anger and criticism. The dismissal was made on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials, but McCabe has suggested it was part of the Trump administration’s “war on the FBI.”
A top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee has strong words for John Dowd, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer: “If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”
A Dowd statement Saturday called on the Justice Department official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to “bring an end” to it. Dowd made the request after the firing of onetime FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
But a leading congressman, South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy, says Trump’s lawyer “does him a disservice.” Gowdy says it’s wrong to suggest Mueller is only looking at potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Gowdy tells “Fox News Sunday”: “Russia attacked our country. Let special counsel Mueller figure that out ... take all the time, and have all the independence he needs to do his job.”
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee is acknowledging that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to fire former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe “may be justified.”
But Rep. Adam Schiff of California is also raising the question of whether it may be “tainted” because of McCabe’s potential role in a probe investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Schiff said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that it’s difficult to know whether the firing was legitimate because it happened before the release of an inspector general’s report that’s expected to conclude McCabe was not forthcoming about matters related to the FBI investigation of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Schiff notes that McCabe could be a relevant witness in the Russia probe as investigators look into whether Trump sought to thwart the FBI probe.
The Senate’s top Democrat is calling on congressional Republicans to stand behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In a statement Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York condemned Trump’s suggestion that Mueller’s investigation be shut down.
Schumer says “Republican colleagues, particularly the leadership” need to make it clear that “firing Mueller is a red line for our democracy that cannot be crossed.”
Trump complained anew in a tweet late Saturday that the Mueller probe was a “witch hunt” and “should never have been started in that there was no collusion.”
A Republican senator is dismissing President Donald Trump’s suggestion that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and Trump’s GOP campaign be immediately concluded.
Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says he believes the probe needs to “bring out the facts.”
He tells ABC’s “This Week” that Trump is clearly frustrated, but the “best thing the special counsel can do is finish the investigation and gather all the information that’s needed to come to a conclusion, so the American people can make their own decision.”
In a tweet Saturday, Trump complained the Mueller probe “should never have been started in that there was no collusion.”
Lankford says that the Mueller probe has uncovered meaningful information about Russian interference in the 2016 election and that Mueller appears be to acting appropriately.
President Donald Trump is reviving concerns that the special counsel team investigating Russian election interference may be biased against him.
Trump tweeted Sunday: “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”
The tweet marks one of the first times that Trump has mentioned special counsel Robert Mueller by name.
Trump allies previously have questioned whether Mueller can lead an unbiased probe because some of his investigators have made campaign contributions to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton. Mueller is a former FBI director appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Other Trump backers have noted that Mueller interviewed with Trump to serve another term as FBI director. Trump instead nominated Christopher Wray to lead the bureau.
President Donald Trump is raising doubts about whether former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe kept personal memos outlining McCabe’s interactions with the president.
McCabe was fired Friday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Associated Press is reporting that McCabe’s memos have been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Trump tweeted Sunday: “Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”
McCabe has been the object of Trump’s ire over McCabe’s role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Comey — the FBI director who was fired last year by Trump — also kept memos of his dealings with Trump.
The onetime FBI deputy director who’s a James Comey confidant has been fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
And The Associated Press has learned that Andrew McCabe kept personal memos detailing interactions with President Donald Trump, and that those memos have been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
The AP reports that the memos are similar to the notes compiled by Comey, who was fired last year as FBI director.
McCabe’s memos could factor into Mueller’s investigation as his team examines Trump campaign ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice.
McCabe’s memos include details of his own interactions with the president. They also recount different conversations he had with Comey, who kept notes on meetings with Trump.
That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to discuss the memos publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
— By Associated Press writer Eric Tucker