Donald Trump has ‘no intention’ of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is overseeing the ongoing Russia probe, reporters were told aboard Air Force One on Monday.
The presidential press pool had been sent out to join Trump and daughter Ivanka in a trip to Wisconsin to promote his new education policies, which are intended to encourage young Americans to pursue vocational jobs in labor.
When asked whether Trump would fire Mueller, spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Air Force One pool: ‘While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so.’
Trump and his daughter were seen beaming from ear to ear as they visited Waukesha County Technical College for the photo-op and talked about asking Congress to expand apprenticeships and promote careers that don’t need degrees.
But despite the Trumps’ bright grins, things were less rosy back in Washington, where Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pummeled with questions over the probe into Russian meddling in the election and alleged connections between Moscow and Trump’s associates.
Ivanka Trump was seen beaming as she and her father stepped off Air Force One at St Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on Monday night after a day spent promoting their new education scheme in Wisconsin
Press aboard Air Force One were told that Trump had ‘no intention’ of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, despite rumors that he had been toying with the idea. Trump appointed Mueller to oversee the ongoing Russia probe
Ivanka Trump was beaming earlier in the day as she visited Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin with her father in order to promote the administration’s new plan for expanding apprenticeships
Neither she nor the president seemed at all bothered about the ongoing turmoil over the ongoing Russia probe in Washington, DC, as they walked with Governor Scott Walker (second from right) in the Pewaukee college
Trump also spoke with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta (third from left) as he promoted the new campaign. Back in Washington, AG Jeff Sessions told the Senate Intel Committee that claims of Russian collusion were a ‘detestable lie’
The tour of the technical college was the beginning of what has been called ‘workforce development week’, which puts Ivanka at the head of a White House initiative to meet America’s labor needs.
Ivanka, who is an unpaid presidential adviser, told ABC News: ‘We’re very excited about where we are.
‘We’ll be launching a series of initiatives, call on Congress to pass various reforms expanding apprenticeships, and raise awareness about the fact that there are important and very viable and respectable career paths outside of a tradition four-year college experience that should be considered and should be invested in.’
Trump is also slated to make a speech about the steps the administration will take to encourage workforce development at the Department of Labor on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ivanka will lead a roundtable discussion with about 15 CEOs.
Back in Washington, however, Sessions faced questions from Congress over the tangled web of rumor, claim and counterclaim surrounding the Russia probe and Trump’s associates’ alleged involvement with Moscow.
Sessions refused several times to answer questions about his private conversations with Donald Trump, but denied that Trump had used executive privilege to silence him.
Instead, he said, he wanted to leave Trump with the option to use executive privilege – something he couldn’t if Sessions had already told Congress everything.
The administration plans to encourage young Americans to pursue ‘very viable and respectable career paths outside of a traditional four-year college experience’ to meet the country’s labor needs
Ivanka, who is an unpaid presidential adviser, and her father are asking Congress to pass reforms to expand apprenticeships. Sessions refused to talk about his conversations with Trump – but said the president hadn’t invoked executive privilege
Trump seemed to be happy to let Ivanka take the lead as she spoke about their plans. In DC, Sessions said that FBI director James Comey was fired because he released information about Hillary Clinton during the presidential election
Ivanka is seen here returning to Air Force One at the Milwaukee airport. Sessions said Trump’s firing of Comey was ‘even more egregious’ than he realized when he was advising the president – despite having previously openly admired Comey
He also called the claims of Russian collusion a ‘detestable lie’, ‘false attacks’ and ‘innuendos’, said that he had no ‘private meetings’ with Russians, nor recalled ‘any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower hotel.’
Although Sessions admitted two meetings with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the US, he said that nothing ‘improper’ occurred – and said he could not recall a third alleged meeting.
During his testimony, Sessions also said that James Comey was right to be fired for the Hillary Clinton leak – even though he had previously spoken of admiring the former FBI director.
And he said Mueller was doing a good job but would not be drawn on whether he might be fired.
‘I have confidence in Mr Mueller but I am not going to discuss any hypotheticals or what might be a factual situation in the future,’ Sessions told Congress.
In Air Force One on Monday morning, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked what the president thought of Sessions’ performance before Congress.
‘He wasn’t able to watch much of it,’ Sanders said.
‘He was preparing for the stop here today, but what he did see and what he heard, he thought that Attorney General Sessions did a very good job and, in particular, was very strong on the point that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.’
Mueller’s firing was also discussed with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who said he has ‘full confidence’ that Mueller is independent.
‘As long as I’m in this position, he’s not going to be fired without good cause,’ he added.
Earlier in the day, President Trump gave a salute as he stepped off Marine One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, along with Ivanka, before boarding Air Force One for the flight to Wisconsin
Ivanka Trump flashed a small smile (left) as she and her father stepped off Marine One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Earlier the pair had been photographed (right) walking across the White House lawn to the helicopter
The pair were all smiles as they prepared to board the craft to start their Wisconsin jaunt. Ivanka has been the face of Trump’s softer issues – including education – since his time on the stump
Ivanka wore a cream sleeveless shirt, which she tucked into a pair of loose-fitting black trousers that tied at the waist as she left her home on Tuesday morning. Husband Jared Kushner (right) also looked dapper as he set off for work