High-profile supporters of President Donald Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign.
Gingrich and Ruddy said it would be a "mistake" for Trump to remove Mueller, although both said they see the probe as unnecessary.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.
If Mr Trump instructs Mr Rosenstein to dump Mr Mueller, it would evoke memories of 1973, when two top Justice Department officials, Mr Elliott Richardson and Mr Bill Ruckelshaus, resigned rather than obey then President Richard Nixon's order to fire Mr Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor conducting the Watergate investigation.
The White House has distanced itself from Ruddy's comments, and press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that he has not spoken to Trump about the topic. A longtime friend, Christopher Ruddy, surfaced the president's thinking in a television interview Monday night, setting off a frenzied day of speculation that he would go through with it. "(Attorney General) Jeff Sessions is recused here, so it would be up to (Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein, who was the person who just appointed Bob Mueller a couple of weeks ago". He thinks Trump is "weighing that option".
Ruddy told ABC News that he stands by his comments that the president is considering asking Rosenstein to terminate Mueller. "With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment". Trump can rescind the regulation that establishes the burden of "good cause" for such a firing, or he could simply fire Rosenstein and install someone more to his liking.
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However, a close confidante of Trump's said Mueller's ousting is under consideration.
Trump can not directly dismiss Mueller.
And now you have a situation where Comey has emerged as Trump's chief accuser-his firing, after all, triggered the appointment of a special counsel-and Mueller will be calling the shots.
While Trump as president would be within his right to fire Mueller, that potential move is largely seen as problematic for a president already plagued by suggestions he have overstepped his boundaries in his interactions with Comey. He wants the President to fire Mueller and wants a political fight against the very idea of special prosecutors.
First and foremost, Trump can not actually fire Mueller. Asked to respond, Spicer said he called "and asked him to clarify that his statement was not based on any meetings or conversations with the president".
Mr Trump does not have the authority to dismiss Mr Mueller, and he would have to ask Mr Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel, to do so.
Prominent radio host Mark Levin wrote on Facebook that "Mueller must step aside", while commentator Ann Coulter said there was no point in keeping him after Mr Comey confirmed that Mr Trump was not under investigation.