WASHINGTON — White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that President Donald Trump “has confidence in everyone who serves him,” as reporters questioned him about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the target of a recent Trump tweet.
“Everyone who serves the president serves at the pleasure of the president,” Spicer added, when asked about how Trump would be able to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee the FBI investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election and related matters. Both have been criticized by Trump and high-profile supporters of the president.
Friday, after a Washington Post report that said Mueller’s probe was looking at whether Trump obstructed justice, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Rosenstein in a memorandum had made the case for the ouster of FBI Director James Comey. However, Trump in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt said he decided to fire Comey before reading Rosenstein’s memo.
An attorney with Trump’s private legal team, Jay Sekulow, asserted on four Sunday TV talk shows that the president’s Friday tweet was not confirmation that he was under investigation.
Sekulow doubled down on the point Monday.
“And now according to The Washington Post theory, he’s under investigation for taking the action that the Department of Justice told him to take . . . there’s nothing to investigate. That’s constitutional rights and protections under the president’s authority as commander in chief,” Sekulow said on “Fox and Friends.”
Trump tweeted a notice that Sekulow was appearing on the morning show, but then deleted the post.
Trump backers outside the administration, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have said they do not believe Mueller can act independently.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week said Trump had “no intention” of firing Mueller, although “the president has the right to.”
Huckabee Sanders and Spicer recently have been taking reporters’ questions under the condition that there be no broadcasting of video or audio of the briefings.
Spicer said Monday’s news conference was off-camera because “there are days that I’ll decide that the president’s voice should be the one that speaks.”
Spicer also provided little guidance about whether Trump has Oval Office recordings of his conversations with Comey — a possibility that Trump had raised in a tweet last month.
“I do not have a specific answer to that,” Spicer said, when asked when the public might learn more about possible tapes. “ . . . It’s possible that we have an answer to that by the end of this week.”
Trump’s tweets Monday focused primarily on his support for the Republican candidate, Karen Handel, in Tuesday’s high-stakes special congressional runoff in Georgia’s 6th House District.
“Karen Handel’s opponent in #GA06 can’t even vote in the district he wants to represent because he doesn’t even live there! He wants to raise taxes and kill health care,” Trump tweeted in a reference to Democrat Jon Ossoff. “On Tuesday, #VoteKarenHandel.”