According to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump believes he has the power to fire Robert Mueller as special counsel leading the Russia probe.
“He certainly believes that he has the power to do so,” White House press secretary Sanders said.
That belief is rejected by many legal experts, who say that Trump does not have the power to fire Mueller directly. Under Justice Department regulations, that authority falls to the department official in charge of the investigation — in this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Mueller has returned to the center of Trump’s crosshairs on Monday after the FBI raided the home, hotel and office of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Sanders dodged additional questions about whether Trump has lost confidence in Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, both of whom reportedly played roles in approving the FBI raid.
“The president has been clear he thinks this has gone too far,” Sanders said of the investigation.
Mueller’s team reportedly referred unknown evidence of criminal activity to the district attorney in New York, and Trump responded angrily on Monday upon learning that Cohen’s home had been swept by federal agents.
Trump described the probe as a “witch hunt” and declared attorney-client privilege to be “dead” in tweets Tuesday morning.
According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, 69 percent of voters, including 55 percent of Republicans, oppose Trump firing Mueller. Just 13 percent of voters said they support Trump firing Mueller.
A little more than half — 52 percent — of voters said Mueller is conducting a “fair investigation.” Among Republicans, 54 percent said they believe the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is not fair.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Trump thinks special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe “has gone too far” https://t.co/F1YORL598TLoading...
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 10, 2018