President Donald Trump is “engaged in desperate and reckless conduct” against the law enforcement entities investigating his 2016 campaign, Senate minority Whip Dick Durbin said Sunday morning, actions that should push Congress to take steps to protect the officer of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump lashed out earlier Sunday against Mueller, accusing the lifelong Republican of filling his office with Democrats pursing a partisan agenda under the guise of an investigation into allegations that the president’s campaign colluded with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. The president’s attacks have once again stirred speculation that he might try to fire Mueller and end his investigation, which Trump has long labeled a “witch hunt.”
“If the president reaches out and stops this investigation, that is a constitutional crisis in this country. That's been said by Democrats and Republicans alike,” Durbin (D-Ill.) told “Fox News Sunday.“
“What it means is: It would be incumbent on Congress on a bipartisan basis to use the tools at its disposal.”
Further fueling talk that Trump might move against Mueller were Saturday remarks from John Dowd, a member of the president’s outside legal team. In an email to The Daily Beast, Dowd praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and said: “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversees his investigation because Sessions has recused himself from investigations related to the 2016 campaign, said last week that he does not believe “there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel.”
Still, Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that Congress should take steps to protect Mueller.
“You think about the obvious, there are two bills before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been absent without leave on this issue, two bills before the committee, bipartisan bills to protect the special counsel. We ought to pass those bills now,” Durbin said. “This president is engaged in desperate and reckless conduct to intimidate the law enforcement agencies of this country and to try to stop the special counsel. That is unacceptable in a democracy.”