Rosenstein said "no, I have not", when asked by Shaheen whether he has seen good cause to fire Mueller. A highly regarded Justice Department careerist, he tapped Mueller - infuriating Trump - after the White House tried to pin the Comey firing on him.
"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said. Rosenstein would be the one to fire Mueller, which he repeatedly assured senators Tuesday he would not consider without "good cause".
"I have determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome", Rosenstein said last month.
Chris Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime confidant of Trump, said it was "amateur hour" at the White House and blasted press secretary Sean Spicer.
The possibility that Trump might at some point want to fire Mueller has to be viewed quite seriously.
"It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement", Rosenstein wrote.
He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not involved in the Russian Federation probe and has not been briefed on it since his recusal. "I think it is", Ruddy said. He later noted that it was up to Mueller to determine whether the issue might be part of his investigation, and he thought Mueller "ought to review that".
Rosenstein says it would be inappropriate for him to discuss Sessions' recusal and adds, "we don't talk about the subject matter of investigations while they are ongoing". Asked if he had seen any evidence to suggest Mueller be fired, Rosenstein replied, "No, I have not". Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
Still, top Democrats on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee fumed that Sessions had abruptly canceled his appearance there, with Sen. That hearing will be public and is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
Ruddy said Mueller has some "conflicts" because his former law firm, Wilmer Hale, also represents Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, and her husband Jared Kushner. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue. He said those concerns included the interview for the Federal Bureau of Investigation post and connections between Mueller's law firm and White House officials. He fired FBI Director James Comey, as he told NBC newsman Lester Holt, because of the Russian Federation investigation. In the abstract, he would be the right selection as special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation.
Under the present circumstances, however, and not without regret, I believe that the same ethics rules the attorney general cited in his Tuesday testimony counsel against Mueller's continuing to serve in the role assigned to him. As he has already said earlier in the day, Rosenstein is not involved in the investigation and does not know any details regarding what's going on.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it would be "extraordinarily unwise". Mark Warner, D-Va., announced that the hearing would be public. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., suggesting that the attorney general was "cowering" in the face of tough questioning.