White House press secretary Sarah Sanders isn’t offering any reassurances special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe will continue if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the Justice Department.
But she did say President Donald Trump’s thinking is that the look at Russia’s meddling in the 2016 contest should be finished.
‘The Mueller probe should end,’ she said on ‘Fox & Friends’ on Tuesday morning. ‘They spent a year and a half and they found nothing because there was nothing. There is nothing.’
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders isn’t offering any reassurances special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe will continue if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the Justice Department
The White House was in chaos Monday amid reports Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, seen here leaving his home on Tuesday morning, was en route to offer his resignation, he attended a meeting instead
Speculation heightened that the Trump administration would nix Mueller’s investigation should Rosenstein exit the Justice Department. Rosenstein oversees the probe as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
And Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, called for a ‘time out on this inquiry,’ referring directly to Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 campaign.
‘It clearly becomes necessary and appropriate… that there be a step back taken here, and a review – and I think it’s a review that has to be thorough and complete’ if Rosenstein is dismissed or resigns, Sekulow said on Monday evening.
Sanders continued to hammer the message of how the Mueller team has come up with nothing.
‘I’m not going to get into the specifics on the Mueller investigation,’ Sanders said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’ ‘We think it should be finished because they’ve spent a year and a half digging through and have still come up with nothing.’
Four former Trump campaign associates – Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and George Papadopoulos – have been charged in Mueller’s investigation.
Manafort, his former campaign manager, was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying business and not his work for Trump. He has cut a deal with prosecutors on the remaining charges and agreed to cooperate.
Manafort was in the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos is also cooperating and met with a professor who claimed to have knowledge of the Clinton campaign.
Mueller’s team has also charged 25 Russians and three Russian companies.
Sanders pointed out none of convictions have anything to do with the president and accused the special counsel of dragging out his look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in regards to the presidential election.
‘Nothing that has anything to do with the president or his campaign and it’s ridiculous they continue to drum this up and drag it out and it should, I think, be wrapping up,’ she said on ABC.
Trump himself has railed against the investigation repeatedly, claiming he is the victim of a ‘witch hunt’ and hammering over and over again there was no collusion.
Asked directly if Trump will let the investigation continue if Rosenstein exited the department, she would not say.
‘I’m not going to get ahead of where the president is but he has been very clear he wants this to come to a conclusion,’ Sanders said. ‘We expect that it should and, again, they’ve spent a year and a half and found nothing that has anything to do with this president because there was nothing.’
Sanders appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ while she is in New York accompanying the president during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly.
She was grilled about the chaos at the White House on Monday as there was a flurry of reports he was headed there to offer his resignation but he turned up instead to attend a routine Cabinet meeting.
Rosenstein’s head was thought to be on the chopping block after reports of an alleged plot to secretly record Trump and use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a lever to force him from office.
Sanders laughed off the tales of intrigue.
‘You know people that work in the administration do go to the White House pretty frequently. That’s not like ground breaking news. In fact, Rod Rosenstein was there a couple times last week, too. It shouldn’t put everyone into a tail spin when somebody that works for the administration shows up and comes to the building in which they work for,’ she said on ‘Fox & Friends.’
Trump told reporters Monday that he’d spoken to Rosenstein on the phone and would be meeting with him on Thursday at the White House.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged four former Trump campaign officials as part of his investigation
President Trump has complained he is the victim of a ‘witch hunt’
Trump and Rosenstein are scheduled to meet at the White House Thursday
Sanders wouldn’t say if Trump has confidence in Rosenstein
‘We’ll be determining what’s going on,’ Trump said as he was peppered with questions about the deputy attorney general’s employment status during a meeting in New York with the South Korean president. ‘We want to have transparency. We want to have openness, and I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time.’
Sanders declined to say if Trump has confidence in Rosenstein, saying on ABC: ‘The president has confidence in the system.’
‘That’s not what I asked,’ ABC’s George Stephanopoulos replied.
‘I won’t get ahead of the conversation that will take place. Certainly he wants things to take place. There have been a number of incidents that have caused a great deal of concern, not just to the president, but to Americans all over the country,’ she said.
And she didn’t answer when asked directly if the president would fire Rosenstein.
‘I won’t get ahead of the president’s decision-making. Again, he wants the process to work. He wants the Department of Justice to be focused on what it should be and not focused on all of the things that have been taking place over the last several months,’ she said.
Rosenstein denied a New York Times report last week that he suggested secretly recording the president in 2017 to provide a rationale for declaring him unfit to serve in the Oval Office.