Former CIA Director Leon Panetta warned President Donald Trump on Sunday against firing special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“If he tries to go after them and tries to somehow appear to be obstructing the process that’s involved in this investigation; he’s going to hurt himself,” Panetta said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But more importantly, he’s going to hurt the country.”
Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s probe on whether Russia colluded with the president’s 2016 campaign.
A recently released memo, which was orchestrated by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and released with Trump’s blessing, claims bias against the FBI after it obtained and renewed surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, purportedly by relying heavily on a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Rosenstein approved at least one renewal of a FISA surveillance warrant, according to the memo. FISA is an acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That 1978 law created a court that allows for law-enforcement agencies to seek warrants for surveillance.
The president on Saturday wrote on Twitter that Nunes’ memo “vindicates” him in the probe and that there “was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction.”
Panetta, who also served as secretary of defense and White House chief of staff, said Trump will hurt his presidency should he continue to tweet about Mueller’s investigation.
“If he spends his time tweeting about the investigation or trying to tweet about undermining the FBI, very frankly, he’s going to hurt his presidency,” Panetta said.