Deputy AG Rosenstein set for budget hearing Tuesday

"You have my assurance that we are faithfully going to follow that regulation, and Director Mueller is going to have the independence he needs".

"No, I have not", Rosenstein said.

"He had a private conversation with the President on his views about all sorts of matters potentially about the investigation", Ruddy said.

As rumors and speculation continue to swirl around the possibility of President Donald Trump firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading a Department of Justice investigation into alleged Russian tampering with the 2016 election, one Illinois Congressman has dared the president to do it.

According to Ruddy, Mueller was a candidate to replace James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director and had met privately with Trump on that subject.

Replying to a question from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein during an open Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing what he would do if Trump asked him to fire Mueller.

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", Chris Ruddy told PBS's Judy Woodruff on "PBS NewsHour".

"I think the best advice is to let Robert Mueller do his job", Ryan told reporters Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with House Republicans.

The startling assertion on Monday came as some of Mr Trump's conservative allies, who initially praised Mr Mueller's selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility. "Look who he is hiring".

After news of Ruddy's interview surfaced, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, tweeted: "If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller".

On ABC, Gingrich said Mueller's team of lawyers are "bad people" and it is "delusional" to think Mueller's team could be fair to Trump. But let's take solace in the fact that, at least for the moment, there's someone associated with this administration who appears to be acting in good faith.

He also declared it a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or took part in any collusion between Russian Federation and the election campaign that sent Mr Trump to the White House. The person demanded anonymity to discuss strategy on the sensitive matter.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein at a budget hearing Tuesday what he would do if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the USA elections and possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign.

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said. But Sekulow added that he "can't imagine the issue is going to arise".

Ruddy, who is chief executive of Newsmax Media and a member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, confirmed his view in a text message to The Washington Post but did not elaborate.

Statements made by Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy set off many new questions Monday night.

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