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.