TrumpWatch, Day 144: Trump Considering Dismissal of Special Counsel Mueller?

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee June 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mueller confirmed that the FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance during the hearing on FBI oversight. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Christopher Ruddy: Trump “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel” Robert Mueller (pictured)

Developments on Day 144 of the Trump Administration:

Trump Friend — Trump Thinking About Removal of Special Counsel?

Donald Trump is considering the removal of Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Trump-Russia investigation, according to a long-time friend.

Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax, said after a visit to the White House that Trump is “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel”: “I think he’s weighing that option.”

Ruddy added that he thought dismissal would be a “significant mistake” even though he believed Mueller should not be in the post.

The White House responded with a heated denial. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “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.”

Other White House officials insisted that Ruddy “had not met directly” with Trump. However, another “White House source” implicitly acknowledged the development, speaking of “mass hysteria in the West Wing about this”.

A “source close to the President” said, “He is being advised by many people not to do it.”

Under Justice Department rules, Trump would have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to override the regulations preventing a special counsel from being fired without cause. If Rosenstein refused, Mr. Trump could fire him as well.

That process was followed by Richard Nixon in 1973 during the “Saturday Night Massacre”, when he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned.

White House officials referred questions to Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, who is now handling Trump-Russia matters. A spokesman for Kasowitz declined to comment.

But former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a long-time Trump ally, tweeted on Monday:

Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Loses Again in Court

A second federal appeals court has ruled against President Trump’s revised ban on entry into the US for refugees and citizens of six mainly-Muslim countries.

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued its 3-0 decision, following a block on the “Muslim Ban” last month from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

The Trump Administration is already pursuing a Supreme Court review of the Virginia judgement.

The 4th Circuit said the executive order, revised in March after the initial attempt in late January was suspended by courts, violated the 1st Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion. The 9th Circuit said Trump exceeded Presidential authority in national security without adequate justification: “National security is not a ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

Trump Turns 1st Cabinet Meeting Into Litany of Praise for Him

Donald Trump ensures that his Cabinet officials extol his virtues, in the first full meeting of the group. Julia Hirschfield Davis of The New York Times describes the scene:

One by one, they praised President Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the Secretary of Labor.

Sonny Perdue, the Agriculture Secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.

Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the President — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”

Trump declared himself one of the most productive Presidents in American history, with perhaps Franklin D. Roosevelt coming close, as he said he had led a “record-setting pace” of accomplishment.

Trump has yet to sign a major piece of legislation in almost five months in office.

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