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Ken Starr backs Mueller, says president 'must be held accountable'

Former independent counsel Ken Starr defended special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE on Monday amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE's attacks on the probe into Russia's election meddling.

"We have to do it. We have to hold the president accountable," Starr told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising," when asked about Mueller's probe. 

"I've been harshly critical of the president for his criticisms in terms of the attorney general, as well as the Mueller probe," he said. 

"I have criticized or expressed concerns about some of the people around Bob Mueller, but I have very high confidence in Mueller himself," he continued. 

Trump has launched a series of attacks on Mueller's probe into Russia's election interference, fueling speculation that the president will fire Sessions, who has recused himself from the investigation. 

The president has also publicly directed Sessions to end the probe. 

"This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure McGahn departs as White House counsel MORE should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!" Trump tweeted last month.  

Starr on Friday said in an interview that there would be "hell to pay" if Trump moved to fire Mueller. 

“I think that there would be hell to pay if the president fired Mueller or ordered the firing of Bob Mueller,” Starr told Bloomberg. 

"Jeff Sessions I think is an honorable person who recused himself, so I think obviously the president has that prerogative, but it would be very hard to get a new attorney general confirmed," he said. 

— Julia Manchester