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The Hill: Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving

Dec 11, 2018
In the News

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Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said he is disheartened that Republican lawmakers who pushed to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign will be gone from the next Congress.

“What’s disheartening for me is that those who have stepped up, are those Republicans who are leaving,” Quigley said on CNN Tuesday, citing Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as examples of Republicans who voiced their disagreements with President Trump’s criticisms of Mueller.

“This is the time to step up. This is the extraordinary period of our life where the rule of law and constitutional protections are at risk,” he added.

Quigley had been asked about a letter signed by 44 former senators calling on the Senate to defend democracy and warning that the country is entering a "dangerous period." They want lawmakers to pass legislation that would protect Mueller's probe.

Flake, along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a bill protecting Mueller from being unjustly fired, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the upper chamber will not take up the legislation. Many Republicans who have been vocal critics of Trump will be exiting the House and Senate after this term.

"I'll put it this way. The president has abused his power," Quigley told CNN. "We have seen detailed accounts of the Trump financial and political world forging ties with a foreign adversary for their own political and financial gain. I believe there has been an effort, a conspiracy to work with Russians toward that end.

"I believe the President of the United States obstructed this investigation and others joined in that obstruction and I believe my Republican counterparts were complicit in that obstruction," he added.

Trump lashed out again at the Mueller probe after new revelations.

Friday’s filings revealed that Trump personally directed former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to make payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump. Those payments were determined earlier this year to have constituted campaign finance violations.

Mueller's team also said that former Trump campaign chairman Manafort lied to prosecutors about his contacts with the White House in violation of his plea agreement. 

Trump maintained that the filings “totally clears the President” and responded with a string of tweets in the following days ripping the Mueller investigation.