President Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions

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White House: Trump's Call For Sessions To End Mueller Probe Is Just Opinion

August 01, 2018 - 4:42 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump's tweets calling for his attorney general to fire special counsel Robert Mueller as "opinion," rather than an order for his administration to act on. 

"Once again as I said earlier, the president is stating his opinion -- it's not an order," Sanders said during Wednesday's White House briefing. "But he's been, I think, crystal clear about how he feels about this investigation from the beginning."

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, calling the probe a "Rigged Witch Hunt."

"This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further," Mr. Trump tweeted. "Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"

Sanders was not aware if Trump has asked Sessions about the investigation directly. 

"The entire investigation is based off of a dirty, discredited dossier that was paid for by an opposing campaign and had a lot of corruption within the entity which was overseeing it," Sanders said. "Which was Peter Strzok, James Comey, Andrew McCabe— we've laid this out a number of times. I don't think we have to go into it every single time we're in here."

CBS News Correspondent Bill Rehkopf said Sanders’ comments almost amounted to “a stretch of credulity.”

“You begin to wonder where that line stretches, and there are a couple of things with this… is that first of all, Sessions would have to unrecuse himself to be able to do this. This ball is strictly in (Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein’s court, and there’s been no pressure to do that, and publicly, the president has said, ‘We want the investigation to go on; we want it to finish up,’” Rehkopf said. “But Sarah Sanders did pick up that ball a little bit and said the president’s made it clear that he thinks this is a rigged witch hunt, in essence, and they just want to see it wrap up sooner than later.”

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News contributed to this report.)