Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a defiant speech on the Senate floor Wednesday warning President Trump not to obstruct or interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s “critical investigation” into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying there will be “immediate and significant consequences” if Trump fires Mueller or issues pardons in order to influence the probe.
“I believe it is up to every member of this institution, Republican or Democrat, to make a clear and unambiguous statement: that any attempt by this president to remove special counsel Mueller from his position, or to pardon key witnesses in an effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation, would be a gross abuse of power and a flagrant violation of Executive branch responsibilities and authorities,” Warner said.
“These are red lines, and we simply cannot allow them to be crossed,” he added.
Warner said that if the Trump administration attempts to influence the Russia probe in any way, it would not only “call into question this administration’s commitment to the truth,” but also a possible create a “constitutional crisis.”
“In the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even the president. Congress must make clear to the president that firing the special counsel, or interfering with his investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses, is unacceptable, and would have immediate and significant consequences,” he stated.
Sen. @MarkWarner says any attempt by POTUS to remove Mueller “or to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power and a flagrant violation of executive branch responsibilities and authorities.” pic.twitter.com/iSbGMyREdp
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 20, 2017
The Hill added:
His remarks come after questions swirled on Capitol Hill that Trump could be contemplating firing Mueller, as his investigation appears to pick up steam and reach into the president’s tight inner circle.
Trump dismissed the murmurs, telling reporters on Sunday he is “not” planning to dismiss the special counsel.
His remarks come after Mueller brought a series of charges against former Trump campaign aides.
Earlier this month, Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and agreed in a plea deal to fully cooperate with the federal investigation.