Republican lawmakers have warned President Donald Trump about his reported intentions on firing special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico writes. Some Trump allies have begun agitating for Trump to fire the man appointed last month as a special counsel to oversee the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
This week PBS’s Judy Woodruff reported that, per a close friend, Christopher Ruddy, Trump himself is considering the prospect of firing Mueller. One of the President’s lawyers also said Sunday that Trump hadn’t taken that option off the table.
But according to Republican lawmakers, that would be a huge mistake.
“It would be a disaster. There’s no reason to fire Mueller. What’s he done to be fired?”, said Senator Lindsey Graham.
Mueller’s investigation is widely considered the most threatening to Trump’s presidency, because it includes questions about whether Trump associates colluded with Russians to influence the 2016 election and whether Trump himself may have obstructed the FBI’s inquiry when he abruptly fired former FBI director James Comey, Politico comments.
A statement released by the White House cites that Ruddy “never spoke to the President regarding this issue. “With respect to this subject, only the President or his attorneys are authorized to comment”, the White House stated.
Senator Susan Collins said that the notion firing Mueller, would “certainly be an extraordinarily unwise move.” Collins and other Republicans said they had no indication Trump was considering firing Mueller.
However, lawmakers were taken by surprise last month when Trump fired Comey, who was then overseeing the Russia investigation. During his testimony last week Comey stated that Trump repeatedly questioned him about the Russia probe, and asked him to end a related investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, before firing him on May 9.
Comey has a long-term friendship with Mueller, who has begun filling out his prosecutorial team with experienced hands, and those facts have alarmed some allies of the president on the hill, Politico reports.
“Bob Mueller’s obviously intent on hiring people who are antagonistic toward this administration. He’s one of Mr. Comey’s closest friends, and it looks like there’s a deliberate orchestration to damage or undermine the president regardless of the basic facts”, said Representative Trent Franks.
Franks also said that Mueller and Comey’s longstanding friendship “constitute an incontrovertible conflict of interest” and he said it was time to end the “mindless charade”.
But overwhelmingly, GOP lawmakers heaped praise on Mueller and said they trusted him to lead a fair and thorough probe. “I think there’s a lot of confidence in Mueller around here. We’ve all dealt with him”, Senator Jeff Flake said.
Anumber of GOP lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, reiterated that they remain confident in him to lead an impartial investigation.
“He’s a very much trusted individual and had an outstanding record as head of the FBI”, McCain said.
“I think Bob Mueller’s as good as you’re going to find. I don’t see any reason to remove him now,” said Representative Peter King, who has largely defended Trump throughout the investigation into potential Russia ties.
Asked whether Comey’s efforts to prod the DOJ to create a special counsel had tainted the probe, King said that “he thinks that it would taint it more to remove him now”, Politico concludes.