Two top Republican Senators said Sunday, in separate interviews, that it’s time for Congress to take another look at potential legislation that would protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team from the whims of the president. This followed the recent revelation that the president attempted to have Mueller fired in June 2017 by ordering White House counsel Donald McGahn to set things in motion.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke with CNN’s “State of the Union,” where she assured host Jake Tapper that Deputy US Attorney General Rosenstein has assured her that he would block any attempt to have Robert Mueller removed from his post. Tapper then reminded Collins of the persistent rumors that Trump is trying to get Rosenstein himself fired. Senator Collins likened such a potential move to the actions of a desperate Richard Nixon.
When asked whether it’s time to reconsider the legislation she previously dismissed which would protect Mueller’s investigation from any maneuvers by Trump, Collins said:
“It probably wouldn’t hurt for us to pass one of those bills. There are some constitutional issues with those bills, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to put that extra safeguard in place given the latest stories, but again, I have faith in the deputy attorney general.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke with ABC News “This Week” on the same issue. Senator Graham states flatly that that Trump’s presidency would be over if he fired Robert Mueller. He told ABC’s Martha Raddatz:
“I think Mr. Mueller is the perfect guy to get to the bottom of all of this. And he will. And I think my job, among others, is to give him the space to do it. I intend to do that. I have got legislation protecting Mr. Mueller. And I’ll be glad to pass it tomorrow.
I see no evidence that Mr. Trump wants to fire Mr. Mueller now. I don’t know what happened last year, but it’s pretty clear to me that everybody in the White House knows it would be the end of the President Trump’s presidency if he fired Mr. Mueller. So I think we’re in a good spot with Mr. Mueller.”
Lindsey Graham’s commentary makes sense, but one can’t help wondering whether the president himself really does know what “everybody in the White House” knows.