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Republicans say Mueller doesn't need more protections, but warn against firing him

President Donald Trump's ...

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 2:38 AM
Updated: Apr 11, 2018 2:38 AM

President Donald Trump's latest tirade against Robert Mueller's investigation does not appear to have prompted many Capitol Hill Republicans to reconsider the need for legislation to protect the special counsel.

Instead, GOP lawmakers maintained Tuesday that additional protections aren't necessary all but offered a sobering warning: any move by Trump to oust Mueller would be cataclysmic for his presidency.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told CNN, "I think it would be suicide for the President to fire him. I think the less the President says about this whole thing, the better off he will be. And I think Mueller is a person of stature and respected and I respect him."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN, "I think he'll be allowed to finish his job."

"I haven't seen clear indication yet that we needed to pass something to keep him from being removed because I don't think that's going to happen," the Kentucky Republican added.

Over the last 24 hours, Trump's shown signs of increasing anger and his response has been to unleash -- once again -- on the Russian investigation. On Monday afternoon, Trump refused to say he wouldn't fire Mueller and Tuesday morning he tweeted that the investigation was a "witch hunt" and that "Attorney-client privilege is dead!"

"It's a disgrace, it's, frankly, a real disgrace, it's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on all we stand for," Trump told reporters at the White House Monday afternoon just as news broke of the FBI raid.

"Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens," Trump added. "And many people have said, you should fire him."

But members in his own party -- just as they did weeks ago -- are reluctant to intervene, saying Trump's comments don't change the fact that they don't see a need to take further action to protect Mueller.

"I believe that Director Mueller has an important job to do, and I believe he can discharge that job in a professional and impartial sort of way. So my advice to anybody would let Director Mueller do his job," said the Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas.

Pressed what he'd do if Trump acted to fire Mueller, Cornyn said, "I'm not going to speculate as to what we would do because I think there would be serious repercussions."

"It's hard to predict what that would look like. So, I think Director Mueller ought to be free to do his job and let the courts and let the lawyers work it out," Cornyn said.

Other Republicans downplayed Trump's most recent comments, arguing they didn't reveal anything new about the President's posturing against the Russia investigation.

"I think thematically he's said similar things before so I don't think that that's anything new in my opinion," Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, said.

Over and over again, Republicans insisted Trump wasn't about to fire Mueller.

"I don't think he would do that," Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said. "There's always a possibility. He has that prerogative, but so far he's declined to do so and I think it's in his best interest if he does not."

But sources familiar tell CNN that the latest raid on Trump's personal lawyer and longtime confidant has shaken the President in new ways. Cohen had become a surrogate family member to the President, and has been spotted semi-regularly at the White House, at times meeting with Trump or dining with the first lady.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut predicted that the news could lead to the President being even more "impulsive and wrathful."

Last year, there were two bipartisan bills introduced in the Senate that would protect the special counsel from being fired. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the measures in the fall, but there's been little action on the legislation since.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said he would back such legislation but that it's not yet necessary.

"I would sign onto legislation that protected him, but I just don't see a lot of momentum around it," Corker said. "I think we'd be better off with (the President) knowing that it'd be a huge problem if he did something then unsuccessfully passing legislation."

Across the aisle, a Senate Democratic source told CNN that Democrats in the chamber just huddled with party leaders to talk about "what if" Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They discussed immediately calling for document preservation and for Republicans who have been warning about this to join with them if it happens.

Sen. Chris Coons, the Delaware Democrat who co-sponsored one of the special counsel protection bills with Tillis, said legislation is "more urgent than ever" in light of Trump's comments Monday.

"I appreciate that all of my Republican colleagues appreciate the risk to the rule of law that an inappropriate, abrupt firing of the special counsel by the President would create," Coons said. "I am deeply puzzled by the lack of urgency or motivation to take some simple measured steps to address it."

Coons said he planned to speak with Tillis and Grassley soon for an update on the measure.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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