President Donald Trump will not call for the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, two officials said, despite his repeated attempts to discredit the escalating Russia investigation.
White House lawyers met with the President Monday to explain the federal charges leveled against two former top campaign officials. As officials scramble to respond, the administration is embracing the argument that the charges have nothing to do with Trump or potential Russian meddling in the election.
“Calling for Mueller’s firing would undercut the White House argument,” a senior administration official tells CNN.
The President remains furious at the widening Mueller investigation and has not forgiven Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe, officials say, but Trump has been persuaded to not renew his call to fire the special counsel.
Trump tweeted his reaction Monday: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”
“….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” he added.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb has been a leading voice inside the West Wing to urge cooperation with Mueller’s investigation. White House chief of staff John Kelly has reinforced that argument inside the administration.
Cobb noted in a statement Sunday that the President was “continuing to cooperate” with the special counsel’s office and investigation.
It’s always an open question, of course, whether the President will follow advice of his team regarding Mueller.