Frustrated by Russian Federation investigation, Trump turns ire toward Rosenstein

"A typical New York Times fake story", Trump said on Friday in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum.

White House counsel Don McGahn also reportedly threatened to resign after the request, arguing that Mueller's firing would bring about consequences for the Trump administration.

"We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process", Cobb said.

Yet only a month after dismissing Comey, an angry president apparently sought to take out Mueller, too, said officials familiar with the incident.

"I just don't think the President - as unpredictable as he is - would fire Mueller, and I take the view, and I said so maybe not directly to the President, but indirectly to the President: Just let this work its course", Grassley said.

"The hardest thing to prove in most obstruction cases is intent to obstruct", former federal prosecutor Patrick Cotter said.

Sessions, who participated in Comey's firing, also is a key witness to the events that prompted the abrupt dismissal. But now that Mueller has secured the guilty pleas of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, and is pursuing charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, it's beginning to look a lot like Mueller's investigation is ramping up.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had urged Comey's firing, was interviewed for hours last week, becoming the highest-ranking Trump administration official known to have submitted to questioning. Christopher Coons, D-Del., would allow a fired special counsel to appeal the president's decision to a panel of judges, to avoid trampling the president's executive authority.

The Times story described Trump formulating a case against Mueller as someone who could investigate possible Trump campaign involvement with Russia's attack on the 2016 election. It's not as if, if he's fired, all the evidence leaves with him in a briefcase.

"You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story", the president said then.

Democrats are trying to renew efforts to push bipartisan legislation in the Senate to give Mueller and future special counsels protection from political pressure from the White House. It would be for Congress to decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings and what legal standards would govern whether the president had committed impeachable offenses. They sat on that information and just ignored it.

Nor does the president have inherent authority to fire the special counsel.

Democratic leaders in Congress have shied from discussing whether they should try to impeach Trump, which would first require Democrats to assume the majority in one chamber of Congress. But senators remained concerned that a court could act unilaterally to extend that timeline, preventing a president with legitimate complaints from acting swiftly. Trump eventually backed off and Mueller stayed on the job.

"I'm surely open to considering those bills", Grassley said, adding that the two approaches should be reconciled and then he would focus on whether they raise any constitutional concerns about the separation of powers between the branches of government.

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