Several Republican lawmakers on Sunday urged President Donald Trump and his legal team to stop attacking the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday night fired former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and on Saturday one of the President’s attorneys, John Dowd, urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to follow Sessions’ “courageous” example and end Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Republicans — at least, those booked to discuss the Russia investigation and other topics on Sunday talk shows — urged the President and his team to show some restraint.
“If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that, contrary to Trump’s earlier tweet, McCabe’s firing was a “horrible day of democracy” and that he expected to “see considerable pushback” from Congress in response to Trump’s “designs” on Robert Mueller.
“I don’t know what the designs are on Mueller, but it seems to be building toward that,” Flake said, after referencing “firings like this happening at the top from the President and the attorney general.”
“And I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t,” he said. “We can’t, in Congress, accept that.”
Tapper pressed, saying that with a few exceptions, “I haven’t seen a lot of pushback from Republicans” in response to Trump’s attacks against the Russia probe.
“Do you really think that [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and [House Speaker] Paul Ryan will stand up and say ‘No, Mr. President, you can’t do this’?” he asked.
“I hope so,” Flake responded. “Talking to my colleagues all along, it was, ‘Once he goes after Mueller, then we’ll take action.’ I think that people see that as a massive red line that can’t be crossed.”
“I would just hope that enough people would prevail on the President now: Don’t go there,” Flake added.
Flake said earlier, referring to Trump’s response to McCabe’s firing: “I’m just puzzled by why the White House is going so hard at this, other than they’re very afraid of what might come out. I don’t know how you can have any other conclusion.”
Later in the show, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reaffirmed to Tapper what he’s said before: If Trump fires Mueller, “that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation.”
“I think we owe it to the average American to have a hearing in the [Senate] Judiciary Committee where Attorney General Sessions comes forward with whatever documentation he has about the firing and give Mr. Mccabe a cans to defend himself,” Graham said separately.