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Rep. Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hired special counsel Robert Mueller and has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump and House conservatives, is “doing a fine job.”
Asked if it would be wise for Trump to fire Rosenstein, the Wisconsin Republican replied: “I have no reason to see why he should do that.” Ryan noted that Rosenstein was hired after Trump won the 2016 election.
Rosenstein’s future at the Justice Department has come into question as reports emerge about Trump’s frustration with him. Some House Republicans appear set to criticize Rosenstein in a contentious memo that they argue undermines Mueller’s probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.
Rosenstein oversees the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from it. Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to handle the probe last year.
Some observers see removing Rosenstein as a path for Trump to end Mueller’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly said he did not collude with Russia and has sought a quick conclusion of the probe.
The president has said he thinks Mueller will be “fair.”
In a meeting with the House Republican conference Tuesday, Ryan cautioned members not to overstate the memo’s significance, according to Politico. He also urged them to differentiate the memo from the Mueller investigation, the report said.
Ryan told reporters Tuesday that “there may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to make the surveillance memo public.
The questions about Rosenstein’s future follow the abrupt departure of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Monday. McCabe, who planned to retire in March, faced harsh public criticism from Trump.
He told friends he felt pressure to leave from FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to The New York Times.