Chris Ruddy Newsmax CEO February 12 2017 01
Trump friend: Mueller is illegitimate
01:17 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

"I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller," Ruddy said

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "Chris speaks for himself"

CNN  — 

The friend to President Donald Trump who claimed the President is considering firing the special counsel leading the FBI investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election stood by his remarks Tuesday, adding that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller is “illegitimate.”

Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy stood by his claims after the White House downplayed his comments and suggested he did not know what he was talking about.

“I think it is a consideration the President has had, because (Robert) Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel,” Ruddy told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” Tuesday.

Ruddy originally shared his belief with PBS’ Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour” Monday after visiting the White House earlier.

Soon after Ruddy’s remarks became public Monday night, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: “Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the President regarding this issue. With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”

And deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said simply: “Chris speaks for himself.”

Ruddy did not dismiss the White House communications team’s words, but he did call Spicer’s statement “bizarre.”

“I said that the President was indeed considering that. I never said that the President told me. I never said I had a conversation,” Ruddy said on CNN. “I always speak for myself and not the President.”

“I never said I spoke to the President,” he added. “And interestingly enough, they never denied my underlying report.”

Sources have told CNN that multiple advisers have counseled Trump against firing Mueller. Ruddy agrees that the move would be a wrong move, but dismissed the investigation Mueller is overseeing.

“I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, but I also think the basis of his investigation is flim-flam,” he said.

Ruddy said the ethics behind Mueller’s presence are concerning considering how he was appointed to be special counsel. NPR reported last week that Mueller had been on the White House shortlist to succeed Comey as FBI director before the Justice Department named him as special counsel.

“Don’t you think it is unethical for him to become the investigator against the President after having that private conversation? I think it is,” Ruddy said. “He had a private conversation with the President on his views about all sorts of matters, potentially about the investigation, I don’t know. And the next day, he’s now maybe using some of that information in his investigation.”