Democratic lawmakers have come out against President Donald Trump’s attempt to smear special counsel Bob Mueller and say Trump firing Mueller would be grounds for impeachment.
Reuters reports that 171 House Democrats sent a letter in support of Mueller to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, calling for him to let the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continue “unfettered by political influence or threats to his authority.”
“We will not stand by and allow Fox News and right-wing Republicans to defy the rule of law and create their own rules to interfere with the legitimate investigation under the Constitution of the United States,” California Rep. Maxine Waters said in a press conference with fellow lawmakers Thursday.
“There is an organized effort by Republicans … to spin a false narrative and conjure up outrageous scenarios to accuse Special Counsel Mueller of being biased,” she said.
California Rep. Ted Lieu warned on the House floor Wednesday that if Trump attempts to fire Mueller or Rosenstein he will be impeached.
“I urge the president to understand what happened in Watergate and to refrain from taking criminal and unconstitutional actions,” he said in a floor speech.
In an appearance on MSNBC later that day, Lieu warned “we would take to the streets, we would try to impeach Donald Trump” if he fires Rosenstein in the event the deputy AG would refuse to fire Mueller.
On the Senate side, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, warned on the floor that firing Mueller would be a “gross abuse of power” that would cause Congress to respond with “significant consequences.”
“Any attempt by this President to remove special counsel Mueller from his position or to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power and a flagrant violation of executive branch responsibilities and authorities,” Warner said. “These truly are red lines and simply cannot allow them to be crossed.”
“Congress must make clear to the President that firing the special counsel or interfering with his investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses is unacceptable and would have immediate and significant consequences,” he added.
But as Democrats issue warnings, Trump and his White House insist there are no plans to fire Mueller.
“If the media is going to continue to ask for responses to every absurd and baseless rumor, attention-seeking partisans will continue to spread them,” Trump lawyer Ty Cobb told CNN. “For five months or more, the White House has persistently and emphatically stated there is no consideration of firing the special counsel, and the White House willingly affirms yet again, as it has every day this week, there is no consideration being given to the termination of the special counsel.”
Of course, there are no plans to fire Mueller if the investigation goes the way Trump thinks it will, which it almost certainly won’t.
According to CNN, Trump believes that Mueller will send him a letter that he can publicly read, clearing him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
CNN reports that Trump has “boasted” to friends that he is “so convinced” that Mueller “will soon write a letter clearing him that Trump can brandish to Washington and the world in a bid to finally emerge from the cloud of suspicion that has loomed over the first chapter of his presidency.”
But advisers are worried that Trump will “explode” if and when the probe “doesn’t end as neatly as Trump expects.”