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Top U.S. Republican Lawmaker To Retire, Adding Pressure On Republicans Ahead Of Midterm Elections

House Speaker Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin)

WASHINGTON -- A leading U.S. Republican lawmaker said he will not seek another term in office, adding to the deepening uncertainty facing President Donald Trump's Republican party ahead of crucial midterm congressional elections.

Paul Ryan, leader of the House of Representatives, told reporters on April 11 that he was proud of his accomplishments, which included a major tax overhaul. He is the third most-senior elected Republican in the U.S. government.

Ryan also addressed questions about the Russia probe overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump has stepped up his attacks on Mueller recently, after FBI investigators raided Trump's lawyer's offices, and has threatened to fire him.

Ryan, who had a strained relationship with Trump, said he did not believe the president would follow through on the threats.

"I have assurances that it's not [going to happen], because I've been talking to people in the White House about it," he said at a news conference in Washington.

"I think [the investigation officials] should be allowed to do their jobs," he added. "We have a rule of law in this country and that's a principle we all uphold."

Republicans, who currently control both houses of Congress, have seen a large number of retirements and decisions not to run again by current lawmakers, particularly in the House of Representatives.

That, plus strong enthusiasm from Democratic activists, has stoked speculation that control of the House might switch to the Democrats in the November elections.

The Senate is expected to remain in Republican control.