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Flake: Hope GOP colleagues stand up for Mueller

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a chief GOP critic of President Donald Trump, said Sunday he expects pushback fro...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 11:29 AM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 11:29 AM

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a chief GOP critic of President Donald Trump, said Sunday he expects pushback from his colleagues over Trump's increased attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller.

"We can't in Congress accept that," Flake said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding, "I would expect to see considerable pushback in the next couple of days."

Trump over the weekend tweeted that the Mueller probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election never should have begun, and on Sunday morning, continued to rail against the ongoing investigation. Trump attorney John Dowd said in a statement on Saturday that he hopes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel, will end the investigation.

Asked if he really felt GOP leaders, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, would come to Mueller's defense, Flake said, "I hope so."

"I mean, talking to my colleagues all along it was, you know, once he goes after Mueller, then we'll take action," Flake said.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has backed legislation to protect Mueller, said in a separate interview on the same program that Trump trying to end Mueller's investigation would "be the beginning of the end of his presidency."

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, issued a statement of support for Mueller on Sunday afternoon when asked for a reaction to the President's comments.

"As the Speaker has always said, Mr. Mueller and his team should be able to do their job," Strong said.

When asked, Strong did not comment directly on whether Congress should advance legislation to protect Mueller.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Sunday that Trump "is floating trial balloons about deraiing the Mueller investigation."

"Our Republican colleagues, particularly the leadership, have an obligation to our country to stand up now and make it clear that firing Mueller is a red line for our democracy that cannot be crossed," Schumer's statement read.

McCabe firing

Flake said he was "puzzled" by the White House's intense focus on former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and disagreed with Trump declaring McCabe's firing "a great day for democracy."

"I think it was a horrible day for democracy," Flake said.

Flake said a report from the inspector general of the Justice Department, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited in a statement on the firing, would come out in due time and that he expected the Senate Judiciary Committee would conduct oversight of the department.

Graham said in his interview that he would like the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which both Graham and Flake sit, to hold a hearing with Sessions and McCabe on the issue.

"I think we owe it to the average American to have a hearing in the Judiciary Committee where Mr. Sessions, Attorney General Sessions, comes forward with whatever documentation he has about the firing, and give Mr. McCabe a chance to defend himself," Graham said.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he too did not like that McCabe was dismissed just over 24 hours ahead of the former FBI official's expected retirement and said appropriate action could have been taken after the inspector general's report comes out.

"I don't like the way it happened," Rubio said. "He should have been allowed to finish through the weekend."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
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Clark49241
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Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
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Hancock32728
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Morgan27824
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Montgomery23517
White2318
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Noble21121
Grant20621
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Monroe16612
Warrick16628
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Switzerland200
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Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 117455

Reported Deaths: 5270
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook762663570
Lake8063287
DuPage7543362
Kane6188170
Will5442269
Winnebago215654
McHenry151471
St. Clair109179
Kankakee87144
Kendall76919
Rock Island64624
Champaign6177
Madison56558
Boone42817
DeKalb3924
Sangamon34629
Jackson26810
Randolph2674
McLean21713
Peoria2128
Ogle2023
Stephenson1992
Macon19519
Clinton18117
Union1519
LaSalle14713
Whiteside13512
Iroquois1314
Coles12514
Unassigned1250
Out of IL1191
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox970
Grundy952
Monroe9411
McDonough878
Lee791
Cass710
Tazewell714
Henry680
Williamson642
Pulaski510
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry420
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan351
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Menard210
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Mercer170
Hancock160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
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Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Brown100
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Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
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