Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — both subjects of President Donald Trump's Twitter tirade earlier in the day — should not be fired.
"I think they should be allowed to do their jobs," Ryan said at a press conference announcing his plans to retire from Congress.
Ryan said he had no reason to think Trump would fire either man, despite railing against them as "conflicted" and in charge of a "corrupt" Russia investigation. Asked why he felt that way, Ryan said, "I've been talking to people in the White House about it."
Trump has grown increasingly agitated by Mueller, who was appointed special counsel last year after Trump fired FBI director James Comey and has overseen the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. That probe has expanded to include whether Trump obstructed justice and has led to the indictment of Trump's former campaign chairman and a guilty plea from his first national security adviser.
A raid of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen's office earlier in the week underscored the peril for Trump and seemed to stoked his fury.
Ryan's handpicked intelligence committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), warned he might seek Rosenstein's impeachment if the Justice Department fails to comply with a demand for a sensitive document connected to the FBI's investigation of Trump campaign contacts with Russia.
"We will have a plan to hold in contempt and impeach," Nunes said Tuesday night on Fox News.
Nunes has been demanding that the FBI turn over the document that launched the bureau's 2016 Russia investigation. Republicans have seen a redacted version of the document, which indicates the probe began as a result of a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, telling an Australian diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Nunes has demanded the full two-page document and railed against Justice Department leaders, including Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray — both Trump appointees — for refusing to provide it.
Trump targeted Rosenstein and Mueller in an early morning tweet.
"Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama," he said. "Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!"
Rosenstein and Mueller are Republicans, and Comey has said he was for most of his adult life.