Politics

Trump questions legality of special counsel amid probe of Comey memos

Key Points
  • Trump reportedly considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller at least twice last year.
  • He has repeatedly slammed the Russia probe as a "witch hunt."
  • Earlier this month, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said the president "certainly believes he has the power" to fire Mueller.
Donald Trump
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump has questioned the legality of the special counsel, who is conducting a probe into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election, alleged collusion by the Trump campaign and obstruction of justice.

Trump suggested special counsel Robert Mueller's probe was prompted by classified information illegally leaked to press by former FBI director James Comey.

Comey, who was fired by Trump, wrote detailed memos of his interactions with the president. In testimony before Congress last year, the former FBI director said he asked a friend to share content from the memos with the press, in the hopes it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

Comey's memos reportedly contained information that is now considered classified, prompting a review by the Justice Department's internal watchdog.

Trump has reportedly considered firing special counsel Mueller at least twice last year, and has repeatedly slammed the Russia probe as a "witch hunt." Earlier this month, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said the president "certainly believes he has the power" to fire Mueller.

But as of late the president seemed to back off his attacks on Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation. According to a report by Bloomberg, Trump told confidants that he does not want to fire Rosenstein or Mueller right now.