FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pauses while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in Washington, on June 7, 2017. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)
WASHINGTON — Republican senators warned President Donald Trump on Sunday not to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and said the President must let federal investigators looking into Russian meddling in the U.S. election do their jobs.
The President has renewed his Twitter attacks on both the FBI and Mueller’s probe since the firing on Friday of the bureau’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, two days before he was eligible to retire with a full pension.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has criticized Trump harshly, said the President’s latest comments appeared to be aimed at the firing of Mueller. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said if Trump were to dismiss Mueller, it would mark “the beginning of the end of his presidency.”
AshLee Strong, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, said: “As the speaker has always said, Mr. Mueller and his team should be able to do their job.”
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Trump accused the FBI leadership of lies, corruption and leaking information. He called the Russia probe a politically motivated witch hunt.
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” Trump said on Saturday. On Sunday, he attacked former FBI director James Comey and McCabe.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Moscow conducted a campaign aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election to Trump. Mueller is investigating the Russian meddling and any possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
On Saturday, Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd urged the Justice Department official overseeing Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, to “bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey.”
Republican congressman Trey Gowdy criticized Dowd in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think the President’s attorney, frankly, does him a disservice when he says that and when he frames the investigation that way,” Gowdy said. “If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the Trump team was fully cooperating in the Mueller investigation and that the President was expressing his growing frustration with how long the probe has lasted.
On Twitter, Michael Bromwich, McCabe’s lawyer, hit back at Trump’s tweets about his client, calling the President’s comments “childish, defamatory, disgusting & false.”