President Donald Trump has "no intention" of firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday night.
"While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so," Sanders said when asked whether Trump will fire Mueller during a gaggle aboard Air Force One.
Sanders’ remarks — which came after more than a day of Trump surrogates floating Mueller’s ouster — marked the first time the White House has made a clear statement about the special counsel’s status.
Trump can’t technically fire Mueller on his own. But he could order the attorney general to do so. However, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, Trump would have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller.
In recent days, Trump surrogates have floated the idea that the president would fire Mueller and have questioned his ability to fairly do his job.
Sanders was also asked if Trump had watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate testimony on Tuesday. She said that Trump "wasn’t able to watch much of it."
But, she added, "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.”