The White House repeated Saturday that President Donald Trump has no intentions of firing Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller amid fresh speculation from a congresswoman that he would be doing so.
“As the White House has consistently said for months, there is no consideration of firing the special counsel,” Ty Cobb, the White House special counsel, told CNN in a statement.
Cobb’s statement came in response to comments by California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, who repeated concerns Friday that Trump would fire Mueller.
“I believe that the President wants all of this shut down,” she speculated during an appearance on KQED in California. “He wants to shut down these investigations and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller.”
Speier’s comments echo concerns from other Democrats that the President might fire the special counsel, who is investigating allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in Moscow’s alleged effort to influence last year’s election.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted his own concerns on Friday, saying, “I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House Intelligence Committee investigation at the end of the month.”
As he left for a graduation ceremony at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, on Friday, the President was asked by a reporter if Mueller’s team was biased.
“Well, it’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, ” Trump said referring to reports of top FBI employees exchanging messages last year referring to then-presidential candidate Trump in derogatory terms. “But we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever, but it is very sad when you look at those documents, and how they’ve done that is very, very disgraceful, and you have a lot of angry people that are seeing it. It’s a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that.”
Trump added a moment later, “And I’m going today on behalf of the FBI, their new building, and you know, but everybody — not me — but everybody, the level of anger at what they’ve been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad.”
Mueller reportedly removed Peter Strzok, one of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence experts, from his team after an internal investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general uncovered politically tinged messages exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
The reports about the messages have prompted Republicans in Congress to criticize Mueller, which could add fuel to a push to name a second special counsel to investigate potential wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton as well as other Justice Department concerns connected to the Mueller investigation.