Senator Bernie Sanders issued a warning to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, telling him that interfering with the special counsel’s Russia investigation is an “impeachable offense.”
His comments follow the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who had recused himself from the probe, provoking the President’s ire, and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker, a frequent critic of the investigation, as acting attorney general.
“President Trump must allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to continue unimpeded,” the senator tweeted. “Any attempt by the president or the Justice Department to interfere with Mueller’s probe would be an obstruction of justice and impeachable offense.”
Sessions resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Trump. Shortly after, the Justice Department issued a statement saying his chief of staff, Whitaker, would replace him and would take over Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, which is currently under the control of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Although the move has largely been seen as an attempt to end the probe, President Trump stressed Wednesday that he had no intention of doing so. “I could fire everybody right now, but I don’t want to stop it because, politically, I don’t like stopping it,” he noted at a press conference.
“I let it just go on. They’re wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on because I don’t want to do that. It’s a disgrace, frankly, and it’s an embarrassment to our country,” he added.
Other Republicans and supporters of the President have criticized the probe, but have advised him against ending it. Democrats have likewise told the President it would not be wise to put an end to the probe, arguing that it would constitute obstruction of justice.
Mueller’s team has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and companies so far.