President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter.
Months after his reported effort to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump is still fuming over the Russian Federation investigation and has Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his crosshairs.
Democrats are trying to renew efforts to push bipartisan legislation in the Senate to give Mueller and future special counsels protection from political pressure from the White House.
He added, "I think to suggest that the president can fire these people for whatever reason he wants, is not a standard that you yourself would apply".
Pressed on her reaction to a CNN report that Trump has been talking about firing Rosenstein out of frustration with the probe, Collins added, "Well, if that's true, that obviously would be a awful mistake". White House counsel Don McGahn refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller, the source said, because he disagreed with the President's reasoning.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked why Trump didn't fire Mueller.
President Trump targeted James Comey's chief of staff and deputy director after his firing.
Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) would only allow the firing of a special counsel in the event of "misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, or conflict of interest". "The president and his team have fully cooperated" with the special counsel, he said. The fact that Trump was reportedly motivated to attack specific Federal Bureau of Investigation officials because they were likely to testify against him "could demonstrate potential intent that would bolster an obstruction of justice case", the report concluded.
McGahn, who could not be reached for comment, did not discuss the issue with Rosenstein and threatened to quit when Trump continued to insist that he do so, the person said.
Trump's first year in office has been marked by his preoccupation with an investigation he has dubbed a "witch hunt" and his reported efforts to bring it to a swift conclusion.
Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who served under the administrations of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said Mueller should be trusted to run an objective probe.
McConnell was asked about the Mueller protection bills in the fall, and he said that the Senate was working on other priorities through the end of the year, adding that the chamber should be focused on its own Russian Federation meddling investigation. "He talked with his counsel, who explained to an angry and frustrated president why it was a bad idea".