Christopher Ruddy is seen as a confidante of President Trump, so his assertion on PBS on Monday that Trump might fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller is drawing a lot of attention. It wasn't exactly a firm statement, with the Newsmax CEO saying that Trump is "considering perhaps terminating" Mueller, who is looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. He added: "I think he's weighing that option." That prompted a quick response from White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who said that Ruddy "never spoke to the president regarding this issue" and that "only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.” Related coverage:
- Who's Ruddy? The Los Angeles Times has a quick bio of the longtime Trump pal that explains why he's generally a reliable gauge on what Trump is thinking.
- Trial balloon? That Atlantic speculates that Ruddy could be deliberately floating the idea to see how it flies, noting that he's done so previously with, among other things, statements in regard to Reince Priebus.
- 'Explosive': The New York Times says firing Mueller would be "politically explosive" given Trump's recent firing of James Comey. It might mean that he'd have to fire deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, too, the man who appointed Mueller in the first place.
- A big no: Rosenstein himself testified before a Senate panel on Tuesday and was asked a simple question by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: “Have you seen good cause for firing Mueller?” He had a simple answer, per the Hill: “I have not."
- Conservative push: Newt Gingrich initially praised Mueller as a "superb choice," but on Monday, he tweeted: "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink." Fellow conservative Ann Coulter joined the push, tweeting, "Now that we know TRUMP IS NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION, Sessions should take it back & fire Mueller."
- Big hire: Gingrich's remark about Mueller's hires may be in reference to high-powered criminal specialist Michael Dreeben joining the team. A post at Lawfare on Friday called the hire "the worst thing that happened to Donald Trump this week," because it signaled an aggressive investigation.
- Overplayed? A post at Axios suggests all this will amount to nothing. "Ordering the firing of Mueller really does seem unlikely," writes Mike Allen. "The near-universal advice Trump will be getting from his White House team—and from legal advisors close to the administration—will be that it's a catastrophic idea to get rid of Mueller."
- Before Ruddy: On ABC Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow perhaps got all this started by refusing to rule out the possibility of Trump firing Mueller. "I'm not going to speculate on what he will, or will not, do," said Sekulow, per Politico. He added that he "can't imagine" it would happen, however.
(Read more Robert Mueller