- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 17, 2017

There was plenty of chatter Sunday outside the White House about whether President Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but apparently nothing of the sort on the inside.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, said Sunday in separate interviews that they were unaware of any such discussions.

“I was at dinner last night with the President and Vice President. I haven’t heard anything about this, any firing,” Mr. Mnuchin told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He said later, “I don’t have any reason to believe the President is going to do that, but that’s obviously up to him.”

The speculation escalated with the release of a letter Saturday from a Trump transition team attorney to key House and Senate committees accusing the special counsel of unlawfully obtaining thousands of the team’s emails through the General Services Administration.



The letter from attorney Kory Langhofer said that the Trump for America emails, including “portions that are susceptible to claims of privilege,” were obtained and used by the special counsel “without notifying TFA or taking customary precautions to protect TFA’s rights and privileges.”

The letter requested that Congress “act immediately to protect future presidential transitions from having their private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives.”

A spokesman for the special counsel said in a statement that the emails were obtained properly.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” said spokesman Peter Carr.

Asked if Mr. Trump was “setting the stage for firing Bob Mueller,” Mr. Short replied, “There’s no conversation about that whatsoever in the White House.”

“You guys keep bringing that up. We have continued to cooperate in every single possible way with that investigation,” Mr. Short  told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling came under renewed fire last week with the release of biased, anti-Trump texts from an FBI agent previously assigned to the probe, Peter Strzok, who has since been reassigned.

Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, told KQED Radio Friday that there was a “rumor” that Mr. Trump planned to fire the special counsel on Dec. 22, which White House special counsel Ty Cobb denied in a statement.

“As the White House has consistently said for months, there is no consideration of firing the special counsel,” Mr. Cobb said.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Sunday that firing Mr. Mueller would be a “mistake.”

“I read that the president’s own lawyer says that’s not going to happen,” Mr. Cornyn, Texas Republican, told ABC’s “This Week.” “I think that would be a mistake myself.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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