WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – President Donald Trump has no intention of firing the special counsel investigating charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, even though he questioned the official’s impartiality in an interview, the White House said on Friday (June 23).
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing that while Trump “retains the authority” to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller, “he has no intention of doing that.”
Trump voiced concern in a TV interview on Fox News earlier on Friday about what he said was the close relationship between former FBI director James Comey and Mueller, who was named to take over the Russia investigation after Trump fired Comey.
“He’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is bothersome,” Trump told Fox News.
“We’re going to have to see. I mean, we’re going to have to see in terms – look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey.”
Lawmakers investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election have raised questions about whether Comey’s May 9 firing was an attempt by Trump to stop the Russia probe.
While White House officials have said the firing was due to concerns about Comey’s actions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Trump told an interviewer the Russia investigation was one of his concerns in taking the action.
But the President insists his campaign did not collude with Russia and that his firing of Comey did not obstruct justice.
“There’s been no collusion, no obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that,” Trump told Fox, adding that Mueller “is an honourable man and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution.”
Russia denies it meddled in the US presidential election.