President Donald Trump bashed The New York Times once again Thursday, claiming a report that suggested he sought to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in December was “fake news.”
Trump tweeted that he “would have fired” Mueller, the head of a federal probe into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia, in December had he wanted to do so.
Trump’s insistence that he has the power to remove Mueller is at stark odds with many legal experts who say Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the only person who can directly fire Mueller.
The Special Counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the Attorney General. The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies. The Attorney General shall inform the Special Counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal.
Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, the next person in line to hold such power would be Rosenstein.