Politics

'They're still here': Trump is mum on whether he thinks firing Rosenstein or Mueller is worth the risk

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Key Points
  • President Donald Trump does not say whether he thinks it's worth the political risk to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • Mueller is leading the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, and Rosenstein appointed him.
  • "They're still here" despite rumors of possible firings, Trump says.
President Donald Trump greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he arrives for talks at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 17, 2018.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump would not say Wednesday whether he thought ousting two key figures in the Russia investigation would be worth the political risk.

Asked if he had "concluded it is not worth the political fallout" to fire either Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, the president responded by repeatedly denying his campaign coordinated with Moscow's efforts to influence the 2016 election. He called the investigation a "hoax" and said he has cooperated, but did not answer whether he thought removing those officials is worth the backlash.

"They've been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they're still here. We want to get the investigations over with, done with, behind us," the president said at a joint press conference in Florida with the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. Rosenstein, who has overseen the probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed himself from it, appointed Mueller.

The ouster of one or both officials could lead to the end of the investigation. But it could also spark repercussions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and voters around the country.

Trump has publicly pondered whether he should fire Mueller. The White House has said the president thinks he has the power to do so.