A friend of President Donald Trump stated publicly that the president is thinking about firing former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the FBI's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, shared the information during an interview with "PBS NewsHour."
"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel," Ruddy said. "I think he's weighing that option. ... I personally think it would be a very significant mistake, even though I don't think there's a justification … for a special counsel in this case."
Ruddy's comments provoked an immediate response from Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who helps lead the House Intelligence Committee.
"If President [Trump] fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller," he wrote on Twitter. "Don't waste our time."
Speaking to MSNBC, Schiff indicated that he believes the threat to be a bluff.
"I can't imagine that they're going to be crazy enough to go through with this threat," he said, according to NBC News. "I think it's just a way of raising doubts about this very good man who's respected by people on both sides of the aisle."
On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Paul Ryan offered some mild criticism of Trump's alleged plan to fire Mueller.
"I think we should let Bob Mueller do his work and get to the bottom of it and get to the bottom of it quickly so that he can be vindicated," Ryan said on "The Hugh Hewitt Show." "Let's not forget what this originally is all about: Russia is up to no good. Russia is trying to meddle into our elections."
A source close to the president told CNN that the idea of sacking Mueller has met with significant resistance inside the White House.
"He is being advised by many people not to do it," the source said.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer declined to confirm or deny the accuracy of Ruddy's remarks.
"Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue," he said. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment."
This prompted a response from Ruddy, who sent the following statement to CNN:
Spicer issued a bizarre late night press release that a) doesn't deny my claim the President is considering firing Mueller and b) says I didn't speak to the President about the matter -- when I never claimed to have done so. Memo to Sean: focus your efforts on exposing the flim-flam Russian allegations against POTUS and highlighting his remarkable achievements! Don't waste time trying to undermine one of your few allies.