Republicans to Trump: Back off Mueller

"In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller", Mr Cobb said in a written statement.

Dowd said he was speaking for just himself, but his emailed statement appeared to reflect the frustration of the president, who lashed out at the investigation in a series of weekend tweets, including one in which he mentioned Mueller by name.

"It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC (Democratic National Committee), and improperly used in FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) COURT for surveillance of my campaign".

The Republican senator and frequent Trump critic Jeff Flake likewise warned on CNN that ousting Mr Mueller was seen as "a massive red line that can't be crossed".

TRUMP: "Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?"

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) said McCabe's firing is something Russian President Vladimir Putin would do, and Mika Brzezinski - an MSNBC host and daughter of Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski - said Trump is engaging in "authoritarian behavior". Leahy renewed calls for more lawmakers, especially Republicans, to defend Mueller.

On Sunday, members of U.S. congress, including some top Republicans, warned Mr Trump not to even think about removing Mr Mueller.

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Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it was very important that Mueller be allowed to proceed without interference and that many Republicans shared this view.

As Trump's scrutiny of Mueller heats up and becomes more frequent, Republicans have continued to dismiss concerns that any action might be taken against the special counsel, which could prompt a constitutional crisis. But that's exactly the accusation Democrats leveled in 2017 against the Judiciary Committee, of which Graham is a member, when it grilled McCabe for hours and its chairman called for McCabe's dismissal because of interactions relating to the Hillary Clinton email investigation-interactions the FBI failed to explain then and now. Mr Trump tweeted Sunday.

Mr McCabe, who was sacked two days before he had been due to retire, has said he is the victim of a Trump administration "war" against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel.

Feinstein clarified later that she believes Mueller is already protected under current regulations because Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has said there is no cause to fire him.

"The half-dozen key lawyers tasked with defending Trump are increasingly operating with conflicting information, feuding internally, and pursuing strategies that many legal analysts and friends of the president view as dubious - if not downright unsafe", the Post's report continued.

"As I have said before, if [Trump] tried to [fire Mueller], that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency because we're a rule of law nation". Committee Democrats vehemently disagreed.

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