March 21, 2018 – It is deeply concerning that President Trump has increased his criticism of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and also increased his criticism of the FBI and the intelligence community. Undermining the basic institutions that underpin our society is not good for the country, and more importantly, the President’s wrong. They are doing a good job, they’re investigating what is obvious to absolutely everyone, except apparently the President of the United States. And that is that Russia interfered in our election and it’s not just in our election. Russia has interfered in many countries, and interfered with the basic processes of democracy. Vladimir Putin does not support democracy. He supports authoritarian dictatorship, so he’s trying to undermine support for democracy wherever he can. And certainly, that happened in 2016 in this country, and it is already very, very clear that there were some people in the United States who were involved in that. There have been several indictments already for lying to the FBI, primarily including, most prominently, the former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who was very connected to President Trump’s campaign. There is a lot of evidence, not just of Russian interference, but of possible collusion between U.S. persons and the Russians, and possible collusion between people in the Trump campaign and the Russians in this effort. Our special counsel, Robert Mueller, deserves the chance to get to the bottom of this. He’s doing a good job. He is not leaking information; he has already rolled out a number of indictments. He is getting cooperation from key witnesses. What we in Congress have to do is everything we can to make sure that the President does not fire him.

Now, we have to understand the way that this works. Currently, the President can’t fire Special Counsel Mueller. But what he can do is he can instruct the Attorney General, or in this case, since Jeff Sessions recused himself from this investigation, the Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein, he can tell the Deputy AG to fire Robert Mueller. If Rosenstein doesn’t, the President can fire Rosenstein until he finds someone at the Department of Justice who will fire Mueller. This is exactly what Richard Nixon did with the Special Prosecutor back in the 1970s. There are pieces of legislation that have been introduced in Congress that would stop the President’s ability to fire the special counsel, or even stop him from firing the people who hired him. We should pass that legislation. I am a cosponsor of bills to accomplish that goal. I think that this is something that should absolutely be included in the final year package on our appropriations bills that we are trying to work out in the next couple of days.

“I support prohibiting the President from having any way to get at the Special Prosecutor. Mueller needs to be able to do his job. What happens if the President goes down this route? I think Senator Graham said it best, he said that it would be an impeachable offense, and I agree. This would clearly be an obstruction of justice and a matter critical to the United States. And if that was the case, the President should be impeached. But I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope the President lets Robert Mueller do his job. It’s critical that he does it. Even independent of how it may impact people associated with the Trump campaign, the Russians aren’t stopping. They are planning on interfering in our 2018 election; they interfere in our political decisions. They try to spread fake news stories to undermine policies that they think would be contrary to their best interests. We need to fight back against that. The first step would be understanding what they are doing. Nobody is getting at the core of that more than Robert Mueller. He needs to be protected and I’ll do everything I can as a member of Congress to make sure that he is.”