President Donald Trump has no intention to fire Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is leading the bureau's investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's U.S. election, the White House said Tuesday.
Rosenstein said that he had had no good cause to dismiss the special counsel. A President's order, he pointed out, did not count as good cause.
Lawmakers also asked Rosenstein whether it was appropriate for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be involved in the firing of FBI Director James Comey given Sessions' recusal from the Clinton email investigation, which he offered because of his role on the Trump campaign.
Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller.
In an earlier hearing Tuesday before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Rosenstein said Mueller will have the "full independence he needs to conduct that investigation", and that he has not spoken to Mueller about the substance of the investigation since appointing him.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer later released a statement saying that Ruddy "never spoke to the president regarding this issue".
Ryan noted if Trump chose to fire Mueller, it would be a "big problem for him politically".
Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, meanwhile, asked Rosenstein whether a direct order from President Trump would constitute "good cause" to fire Mueller.
Could the president get rid of the independent counsel leading the Russian Federation investigation?
He said he doubts Mueller can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation.
Rosenstein said he appointed Mueller and he stands by the decision. "I think the way the investigation is shaping up, he's out to get the president".
Ryan told reporters Tuesday: "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job". He wants the President to fire Mueller and wants a political fight against the very idea of special prosecutors.
A person familiar with Trump's thinking said Tuesday that it is "unlikely" he will fire Mueller, but acknowledged that it is often hard to predict Trump's behavior.
Under questioning from Van Hollen, Rosenstein also testified that removing the special counsel in order to prevent the investigation-as Trump himself implied he did in the firing of Comey-would also not constitute good cause.
It wasn't clear whether Ruddy, who speaks with the president often, was basing his remarks on a specific conversation with the president or entirely on Sekulow's comments. White House officials and a person close to Trump's personal attorney said Trump is not planning to make any moves on Mueller. "And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself - and the Russians, zero", Trump responded.