Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised that he would not do anything that could result in special counsel Robert Mueller’s dismissal from the Russia investigation.
While testifying before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, Sessions said it would not be appropriate for him to influence Mueller’s tenure because he has already recused himself from the matter.
Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., noted that a friend of President Trump’s, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, said on Monday that the president was considering removing Mueller.
“Do you have confidence in Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct this special investigation fairly and impartially?” he asked.
Sessions said he was unaware of any reports concerning Trump’s alleged desire to fire Mueller, and expressed confidence in the latter’s service to the country.
“I have known Mr. Mueller over the years. He served 12 years as FBI director. I knew him before that, and I have confidence in Mr. Mueller, but I’m not going to discuss any hypotheticals or what might be a factual situation in the future that I’m not aware of today because I know nothing about the investigation,” Sessions said.
“Do you believe the president has confidence in Mr. Mueller?” Warner asked.
“I have no idea. I’ve not talked to him about it,” Sessions responded.
Warner pressed the attorney general to promise the committee that he would not take any personal actions that might result in the dismissal of Mueller.
“Well, I think I could probably say that with confidence because I’m recused from the investigation,” Sessions said. “In fact, the way it works, Sen. Warner, is that the acting attorney general investigates…”
“I’m aware of the process,” Warner interrupted, “but I just wanted to get you on the record that with your recusal you would not take any actions to get special investigator Mueller removed.”
“I wouldn’t think that that would be appropriate for me to do.”
Decisions about Mueller’s future would have been up to Sessions had he not recused himself after the public learned about his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign. What happens now is up to the department’s second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, and said earlier in the day he would not dismiss Mueller without “good cause” even if that means disobeying an order from the president.
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