Deputy AG Rosenstein: No good cause to fire Mueller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Tuesday said he has not seen good cause to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election interference.

Rosenstein clarified at a Senate Appropriations Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing that he, and not Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE, has the authority to hire and fire Mueller.

“Have you seen good cause for firing Mueller?” Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans MORE (D-N.H.) asked Rosenstein.

“I have not,” he replied.

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Rosenstein added he is confident Mueller will have sufficient independence in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsUnemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (R-Maine) further pressed him on reports that the administration is considering firing Mueller, asking whether he would if President Trump ordered him to do so.

“I am not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate,” Rosenstein said, explaining that under federal regulations, Mueller can only be fired for good cause and that reason would have to be put in writing.

Democrats slammed Sessions on Tuesday for canceling plans to testify at the hearing and sending Rosenstein in his place.

“You are not the witness we were supposed to hear from today,” Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Hillicon Valley: Twitter bans thousands of QAnon accounts | Bipartisan support grows for election funds in Senate stimulus bill | Senate committee advances bill to ban TikTok from federal devices MORE (D-Vt.) said. “You are not the witness that was supposed to be behind the table.”