Donald Trump is considering dismissing the special counsel assigned to the Russia investigation, a confidant said on Monday.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy told PBS Newshour that Trump is “considering perhaps terminating” Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was appointed to run the investigation into Russian influence on the campaign by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17.
Asked later if Trump is really considering firing Mueller, Ruddy said: “Yes.”
A White House official told me that “Chris was speaking for himself and did not speak to the president.” Later on Monday night, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement reading, “Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue. With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”
CNBC’s Washington correspondent tweeted that she had seen Ruddy leaving the West Wing earlier on Monday afternoon; NBC later reported that he was there for a meeting with the president that was postponed. Ruddy told NPR they spoke on Friday.
Ruddy, a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, has often seemed to float trial balloons related to moves Trump is considering making. In February, after having a drink the night before with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Ruddy criticized White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on CNN, saying "I think Reince Priebus, good guy, well-intentioned, but he clearly doesn't know how the federal agencies work.”