Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told lawmakers on Wednesday that he has not identified any reason to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, despite growing calls from supporters of President Donald Trump to do so. Rosenstein added that if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, he would refuse to comply unless there was “good cause” to justify Mueller’s removal.
“As I’ve explained previously, I would follow the regulation: If there was good cause, I would act,” Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee. “If there were no good cause, I would not.”
“And you’ve seen no good cause so far?” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked.
“Correct,” Rosenstein replied.
Rosenstein, who was appointed by Trump in February, became the top Department of Justice official overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the matter. After Trump, with the backing of Rosenstein and Sessions, fired FBI Director James Comey in May, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to lead the investigation.
Rosenstein’s testimony Wednesday comes at a time when some conservatives have escalated their calls to dismiss Mueller, whose investigation in recent weeks has led to guilty pleas from two Trump campaign associates and the indictment of two others. Mueller’s critics have argued that investigators assigned to the Russia probe are biased against Trump and have raised concerns about FBI officials’ connections to Fusion GPS, the research firm behind the so-called Steele dossier.
On Wednesday, Rosenstein also dismissed concerns that Mueller may be inappropriately expanding his investigation into matters unrelated to Russian interference.
“There are a lot of media stories speculating what the special counsel may or may not be doing,” Rosenstein told lawmakers. “I know what he’s doing. I am appropriately exercising my oversight responsibilities. So I can assure you that the special counsel is conducting himself consistently.”