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"The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal", Corallo said in an email to BuzzFeed News.

"I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, but I also think the basis of his investigation is flim-flam", he said.

The White House was quick to dismiss Ruddy's comments.

"I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct", Comey said.

But testifying in the Senate Tuesday, Rosenstein said he is confident that Mueller will have "the full independence he needs" to investigate thoroughly.

Ruddy's comments came as several conservatives began to question whether Mueller could be impartial in overseeing the Russian Federation probe. "I will defend the integrity of that investigation".

"I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves", said Sessions.

Importantly, Grassley seemed to indicate he wouldn't be happy ceding the investigations to Burr's intelligence committee - saying it has a "pretty narrow" purview.

He also testified he had told the President in January he was not personally under investigation. From what I know of his reputation, he's an honest, no-nonsense, effective prosecutor. The decision marks a major turning point in the ongoing FBI investigation, the Post reported, citing unnamed sources.

"When the day comes that our country can not rely on people to deliver the truth about whatever the subject is from positions of great authority and great reputations, like Mueller, and if we just dismiss those as not being able to deliver us the truth about an issue, we've got more problems than we think we have", Womack said.

Chris Ruddy, a Trump friend and the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax, raised the possibility of the president considering terminating Mueller, a potentially explosive option.

Sessions on Saturday said he would appear before the intelligence committee, which has been doing its own investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

A source close to the President told CNN's Jim Acosta that Trump is being counseled to steer clear of such a dramatic move like firing the special counsel. He later noted that it was up to Mueller to determine whether the issue might be part of his investigation, adding he thought Mueller "ought to review that". Ruddy did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification.

Ruddy has doubled down on his claim, and fired back at Spicer for undermining one of the administrations "few allies". Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders referred Roll Call to an outside counsel.

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr told NPR's Carrie Johnson, "We'll decline to comment".


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