House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy says President Donald Trump shouldn't fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because of the ongoing special counsel investigation.
"I don’t see a basis for firing him in the handling of this probe," the retiring Republican congressman from South Carolina said on "Fox News Sunday."
The president's ire over the investigation into possible Trump campaign’s ties with Russia, which Rosenstein stepped in to oversee after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last year, has grown considerably over the last week after Rosenstein authorized the raid in New York on longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, noted the decision to conduct the raid had to be made a the "highest level" of the Justice Department and that a "neutral, detached" federal judge "who has nothing to do with politics" had to sign off on the warrant, which was, in part, made on a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller.
"I don’t know what Mueller was supposed to do other than what he did," Gowdy said, adding the referral was made because Mueller's team "came in contact with potential criminality."
"How this is Mueller’s fault just defies logic to me," Gowdy said, and cautioned the White House against agreeing to a reported plan from former aide Steve Bannon on how to discredit the ongoing federal probe.
"I don’t know who in the hell would take advice from Steve Bannon," Gowdy said.
Still, the congressman added, if Trump wanted to fire Rosenstein because he was upset that the Justice Department isn't producing requested documents to Congress fast enough that would be "legitimate."
Trump "doesn't have to run hiring and firing decisions by" Congress, Gowdy said.