(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have conflicts of interest and called the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election “corrupt” in his latest attack on the probe.
“Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama,” Trump said in a tweet about two hours after taunting the Kremlin on Twitter about a planned U.S. attack on Syria.
“Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!”
Trump is angry about an FBI search Monday of the office and home of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, that was based on information turned up in Mueller’s investigation. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating payments to a former Playboy model and to a porn actress prior to the 2016 election that the women say were intended to buy their silence about affairs with Trump.
“No Collusion or Obstruction (other than I fight back), so now they do the Unthinkable, and RAID a lawyers office for information! BAD!” Trump tweeted earlier.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump has privately discussed firing Mueller and CNN reported that he’s considered firing Rosenstein.
Congressional Republicans have warned Trump not to intervene in Mueller’s investigation, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers plan to introduce legislation Wednesday that would block him from firing Mueller.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced Wednesday that he won’t run for re-election to Congress, said Mueller and Rosenstein “should be allowed to do their job.”
“We have a rule of law in this country and that’s a principle we all uphold,” Ryan said. Addressing a possible firing of Mueller or Rosenstein, he continued, “I have no reason to believe that’s going to happen, I have assurances that’s not, because I’ve been talking to people in the White House about it.”
The bill would spell out that a special counsel can only be fired for “good cause” by senior Justice Department officials and requires them to put the rationale in writing. The special counsel would have 10 days to seek a judicial review of his firing, according to Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who is a co-sponsor.
Rosenstein has said that only he can fire Mueller, and only for cause. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that “we’ve been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision,” suggesting Trump’s aides have explored the matter.
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