Law professor and former Department of Justice official John Yoo revealed to Newsmax TV on Thursday that President Donald Trump has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
Rumors have swirled for months Trump has considered dismissing Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Things got more complicated this week after two offices, an apartment, and a hotel room tied to Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen were raided by FBI agents.
"I think President Trump has the Constitutional authority to fire Mueller just as he can any prosecutor within the federal government," Yoo told "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman. "They all only work for him and his Constitutional duty to take care of the laws that are faithfully executed.
"A regulation by an agency can't constrain the president's ultimate Constitutional authority to remove all officers subordinate to him in the Justice Department."
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There have been conflicting reports about whether a president is legally allowed to fire a special counsel. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said doing so would violate the Code of Federal Regulations.
"I think that's wrong," he said.
"If Congress really wants to get to the bottom of things, they're welcome to have their own investigation and even open impeachment proceedings. But that's the only thing the Constitution creates for the Congress to do to probe a president. Not offload it to the independent counsel Bob Mueller."
It has also been alleged Trump might fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed off on the Cohen raids that occurred Monday.
Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russia, but that has not prevented the investigation — which dates back to 2016 before the election — from dominating the headlines throughout most of his presidency. Mueller's special counsel probe began last May and has resulted in several indictments and one conviction thus far, although those cases do not involve collusion.
It is still unclear whether Trump and his attorneys will agree to sit down with Mueller for an interview regarding the investigation.
Yoo was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2001-2003 during the administration of former President George W. Bush. During his time at the DOJ, he wrote a memo that claimed the president has the power to authorize the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps on American citizens while on U.S. soil.
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