Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Spier said Friday the “rumor on the Hill” is that President Donald Trump intends to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller next week when Congress is gone for the holidays.
Should Trump go through with the unconfirmed rumor, Spier said an “effort” for impeachment would follow.
Spier added Republicans are aiming to shut down the House Intelligence Committee’s own Trump-Russia investigation and likened Trump’s possible firing of the special counsel to that of former President Richard Nixon’s infamous “Saturday Night Massacre.”
Her comments reflected those of the House committee’s ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, also of California, who stated Friday he was worried about the committee’s status and that of Mueller.
“The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week,” Spier told KQED. “And on Dec. 22nd, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller.”
With Republicans maintaining majorities in both chambers of Congress, impeachment remains a long shot given its inherent political nature. But a dismissal of Mueller, whose probe Trump has previously called a “witch hunt,” could be too much for the GOP to ignore.
“That is Saturday massacre 2.0,” she said. “Without a doubt there would be an impeachment effort.”
The aforementioned “massacre” took place on October 20, 1973, when then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus each resigned after Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Cox was investigating the Watergate break-in that led to Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.
In Trump’s case, he would have to ask Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any Trump-Russia investigation in March.
Sessions decision reportedly enraged Trump and led to significant tension between the two men ever since.
The Republican Trump and other members of his party have repeatedly and increasingly railed against the scope and amount of time Mueller has spent investigating potential collusion with Russia in order to win last year’s election. Trump has denied any collusion and claimed Democrats drummed up the scandal as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s loss.
However, bipartisan legislation in Congress have aimed to curtail a potential firing of Mueller. Such a move has been labeled as politically radioactive for Trump and could only deepen the allegations around his former campaign and young administration.
The measures would allow for Mueller, a former FBI director, to ask for a judicial review of his possible dismissal.
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