George Stephanopoulos: Special counsels can go in any direction they want

Journalist George Stephanopoulos emerges from the elevators following a visit to Trump Tower on November 21, 2016 in New York City.

(CNN)As George Stephanopoulos points out, he knows a thing or two about what it's like to be in a White House under investigation. The former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and now chief anchor at ABC News said he doesn't believe President Donald Trump's administration fully grasps where special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry could lead.

"Having worked in a White House that was under the thumb of the special counsel for several years, they have no idea," Stephanopoulos told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Stephanopoulos explained that special counsel Kenneth Starr was appointed to investigate Clinton "before Monica Lewinsky came into the White House."
    "That's [Lewinsky] what ended up being what Bill Clinton got impeached over," he noted. "Special counsels can go in any direction they want."
    Stephanopoulos also said that if Trump fires Mueller, it could spell the end of his presidency.
    "It brings you back to the Watergate times and the Saturday Night Massacre," he told Axelrod, alluding to President Richard Nixon's orders to fire special counsel Archibald Cox, which led to the resignation of Nixon's attorney general and deputy attorney general.
    "I can't imagine a president surviving a move like that," Stephanopoulos continued, adding that he believes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would resign rather than carry out orders to fire Mueller.
    Longtime Trump friend Christopher Ruddy said in mid-June that he believed the President was considering dismissing Mueller.
    "I think it is a consideration the President has had because Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel," Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" at the time. "Chris, remember there is no evidence of wrongdoing, there's no evidence of collusion, there's no evidence of obstruction."
    The White House has pushed back against Ruddy's assertion, and a source close to Trump said at the time that the President was being counseled against such a move.