Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) warned Friday that President Donald Trump’s tweets were making her “increasingly concerned” that he intends to oust the two officials overseeing the sprawling federal investigation into Russia’s election interference: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the special counsel he appointed, Robert Mueller.
“The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired,” Feinstein said in a statement. “That’s undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president’s oath of office.”
Trump has in the past 24 hours written a number of tweets calling the Russia probe a “witch hunt” being carried out by Rosenstein, Mueller and “very bad people.”
Just this morning, in a puzzlingly phrased missive, Trump bemoaned reports that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice after abruptly firing FBI Director James Comey last month. He appeared to blame Rosenstein for this development, writing, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Trump reportedly asked Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to write memos justifying Comey’s firing, but later said on national television that he planned to dismiss Comey so regardless of their recommendations, in part because of the “Russia thing.”
Feinstein noted that Trump does not actually have the authority to fire Mueller, and that any effort to appoint a replacement for Rosenstein with an eye toward shutting down the investigation would result in a “rude awakening” for the President.
“Even his staunchest supporters will balk at such a blatant effort to subvert the law,” Feinstein said.
Read her full statement below:
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on recent statements by the president:
“I’m growing increasingly concerned that the president will attempt to fire not only Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice, but also Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who appointed Mueller.
“The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired. That’s undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president’s oath of office.
“First of all, the president has no authority to fire Robert Mueller. That authority clearly lies with the attorney general—or in this case, because the attorney general has recused himself, with the deputy attorney general. Rosenstein testified under oath this week that he would not fire Mueller without good cause and that none exists.
“And second, if the president thinks he can fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will shut down the investigation, he’s in for a rude awakening. Even his staunchest supporters will balk at such a blatant effort to subvert the law.
“It’s becoming clear to me that the president has embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light, be that Congress, the media or the Justice Department. The Senate should not let that happen. We’re a nation of laws that apply equally to everyone, a lesson the president would be wise to learn.”