A day after Republicans introduced legislation demanding special counsel Robert Mueller's resignation, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there's no need to protect him from being ousted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday waved away concerns that Donald Trump or his allies might try to oust special counsel Robert Mueller, saying he doesn’t feel any pressure to protect the integrity of the Russia investigation.
McConnell made the comments during an interview with MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt, just one day after Republicans introduced legislation demanding that Mueller step down from his position as special counsel in charge of the Russia probe.
Asked if Congress has any role to play in passing legislation to protect Mueller from being fired, McConnell said no.
“I don’t hear much pressure to pass anything,” McConnell told Hewitt. “There’s been no indication that the president or the White House are not cooperating with the special counsel.”
There are actually quite a few indications that Trump and his allies in both the White House and Congress are trying to undermine the Russia probe, especially with the first indictments being issued this week.
Just before the indictments came down, Trump took to Twitter to demand that Republicans join him in launching a smear campaign against Mueller. Not surprisingly, many of them acquiesced. By the end of the week, Republicans were already looking to pass a bill that would force Mueller to resign.
Those close to Trump have also signaled their willingness to undermine the Russia probe by going after Mueller. Just this week, longtime confidante Roger Stone accused Mueller of committing obstruction of justice and demanded that he be removed from his position as special counsel.
Former chief strategist Steve Bannon has also urged Trump to use more aggressive tactics against Mueller, and reports suggest that Trump may be taking him up on his advice.
While Trump is unlikely to come right out and fire Mueller, there are indications that he is exploring other pathways to impede his work and derail the investigation, including by cutting funding for the Russia probe, withholding documents requests, and putting up legal fights every step of the way.
According to Politico, Trump’s lawyer said on Thursday that he is prepared to push back on any attempts by Mueller to explore Trump’s finances or real estate deals. Trump himself said over the summer that it would be “a violation” if Mueller tried to look into his personal finances.
Despite these obvious warning signs, McConnell is refusing to take action to protect the integrity of the investigation by shielding Mueller from Trump’s attacks.
In the same interview, McConnell also said he didn’t support bipartisan legislation that would require social media companies to disclose who pays for ads on the platform. The legislation was introduced as part of an effort to prevent Russia and other foreign nations from covertly interfering in U.S. elections.
“I’m a little skeptical of these disclosure-type proposals that are floating around, which strikes me would mostly penalize American citizens trying to use the internet and to advertise,” McConnell stated.
McConnell has shown little to no interest in protecting the integrity of our electoral process, even in the midst of an attack from a hostile foreign government. Last fall, he reportedly shot down a proposal to warn the American public about Russia’s efforts to destabilize our political system and aid Trump in winning the presidency.
This weekend, McConnell proved once again that he is willing to risk the integrity of our democracy if it allows him to remain in power. He may be a leader by name, but he certainly isn’t showing any signs of real leadership.