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Top Democrat warns of a “constitutional crisis” if Trump fires Mueller

Trump would be crossing a "clear red line" by firing Mueller, the senator from Virginia explained.

by Alex Lubben
Dec 20 2017, 11:11pm

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned his fellow senators Wednesday that it would be a “constitutional crisis” should President Donald Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“Firing Mr. Mueller, or any other of the top brass involved in this investigation would not only call into the question this administration's commitment to the truth, but also to our most basic concept: rule of law,” Warner said from the Senate floor Wednesday. “It also has the potential to provoke a constitutional crisis.”

Trump has repeatedly sought to discredit the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt” and demanding, about once a week on average, to know why Hillary Clinton isn’t being investigated instead. Rumors, meanwhile, have been swirling for weeks that Trump has been considering firing Mueller, who is reportedly honing in on Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr.

Warner warned Wednesday that any move by Trump against Mueller would show that the Trump administration sees itself as above the rule of law.

At first, Warner said, the calls for Mueller’s firing were merely coming from the “fringes of our political discourse.” But recently they've surfaced on Fox News — which insinuated not-so-subtly that Mueller’s investigation could amount to a coup — and been parroted by certain members of the House of Representatives. Matt Gaetz, the Republican from Florida, has been openly calling for Mueller to be fired on the House floor for weeks. And Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, has also called into question the objectivity of the investigation.

Warner asked his fellow legislators to speak out against Mueller’s firing or the pardoning of any key witnesses involved in the investigation. For Trump to do either of those things, Warner said, would be an abuse of power, and a flagrant violation of executive branch responsibilities and authorities.

“These are clear red lines and we must not allow them to be crossed,” he said.