Politics

Republican Sen. Flake warns impeachment is the 'only' remedy if Trump fires Mueller

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Key Points
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., warned President Trump not to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • Doing so, Flake said, would leave impeachment as Congress' "only constitutional remedy."
  • Trump raised concerns about Mueller's job security in a series of aggressive tweets over the weekend.
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Matt McClain | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., begged President Donald Trump not to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, warning him that impeachment is "our only constitutional remedy" if he does.

Flake, perhaps Trump's most vocal Republican critic in Congress, delivered his plea in a tweet Tuesday evening, echoing his words from a Washington Post interview earlier that day.

Flake tweet: We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there.

"To fire Mueller without cause, I don't know if there is any other remedy left to the legislative branch" besides impeaching the president, Flake told the Post.

Trump raised concerns about Mueller's job security in a series of aggressive tweets sent over the weekend. For the first time since Mueller was appointed in May 2017, Trump criticized the former FBI director by name on Twitter.

Trump tweet: Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

A steady trickle of congressional Republicans chimed in after the weekend tweet storm to reaffirm their support for the special counsel's unfettered ability to investigate potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said Tuesday that "the special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to conclusion."

He was later joined by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said, "I agree with the president's lawyers that Bob Mueller should be allowed to finish the job."

Flake's comments also followed reports from the Post and the New York Times that Trump's legal team could soon experience a shakeup for matters related to its handling of the Mueller investigation.

The Times reported Tuesday that Trump has openly considered firing lawyer Ty Cobb, who is said to be a proponent of a hands-off approach to the Mueller probe. And lead White House lawyer John Dowd has reportedly considered resigning over Trump's uncontrollable personality.

Trump's lawyers and other White House officials pushed back on the report, maintaining that the legal team remains intact.