Speaker Ryan: ‘Completely unnecessary’ for Congress to shield special counsel

Speaker Ryan: 'Completely unnecessary' for Congress to shield special counsel

Washington (AFP) – US House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday rejected as “completely unnecessary” a bipartisan effort to protect the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling, saying he believes President Donald Trump will not fire him.

Last week two Republicans and two Democrats in the Senate introduced a bill to protect Robert Mueller and any subsequent special counsels from attempts by a president to fire them without “good cause,” and to provide for a judicial review in the event of a dismissal.

The measure already faced long odds, given that Trump, who repeatedly has denounced Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt,” would have the option to veto the legislation if it reached his desk.

The bill has been seen as a serious warning to Trump not to sack the man investigating him, but Ryan poured cold water on it.

“We do not believe that he should be fired. We do not believe that he will be fired,” Ryan told reporters, when asked about prospects of a law that protects Mueller. 

“And we therefore don’t think that that is necessary.”

Ryan said he has discussed the issue with the president and does not believe that Trump will move to dismiss the special counsel, who is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as potential connections or collusion between the Trump team and Moscow.

“It would be not in the president’s interest to do such a thing and I think he knows that,” Ryan said.