Rep. Jackie Speier is sounding the alarm about a potential "Saturday massacre 2.0."
California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier warned on Friday that Donald Trump may be plotting to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in the days leading up to Christmas, after Congress has gone home for the holidays.
“The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller,” Speier told California’s KQED News.
Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Trump and his Republican allies in Congress were trying to shut down the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
Three members of Trump’s inner circle, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, have already been indicted. Now, Trump is reportedly worried that the investigation is about to hit even closer to home.
Speier pointed to the lack of witness interviews slated for the coming year as a serious cause for concern. Despite scheduling important votes for the new year, congressional Republicans have not scheduled any additional witnesses yet in 2018.
“We can read between the lines I think,” Speier said. “I believe this president wants all of this shut down. He wants to shut down these investigations, and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, issued a similar warning on Friday, saying that there is reason to be concerned that Republicans are working to shut down the Russia investigation by the end of the year.
“Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on,” Schiff tweeted.
“By shutting down the congressional investigations when they continue to discover new and important evidence, the White House can exert tremendous pressure to end or curtail Mueller’s investigation or cast doubt on it. We cannot let that happen,” he added.
If Trump goes forward with the reported plan to fire Mueller, it would result in a constitutional crisis that Speier referred to as “Saturday massacre 2.0.”
“Without a doubt there would be an impeachment effort,” she said.
California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday that he, too, is worried Trump may use the holiday break to launch an all-out assault on the rule of law.
“My biggest concern is that the President tries to do what Nixon did, a ‘Saturday Night Massacre’, where he tries to fire multiple officials in the Department of Justice who are investigating him,” Lieu said.
Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, echoed these concerns Friday, saying he’s “concerned the assault on the rule of law is coming over the holidays when we’re distracted.”
“It‘ll be a defining moment for the Republic,” Shaub tweeted.
If Trump does move to fire Mueller, Shaub said, Americans must be ready to take action, including lawmakers in the Senate and in the House. “Make a plan folks. Be ready to take to the streets. This is an attack on our Republic.”
Shaub also implored Republicans not to join Trump in his efforts to obstruct the investigation.
“Rather than making themselves complicit in this assault on the rule of law, Members of Congress should send a clear message to the President that firing Mueller is a red line he must not cross,” Shaub said in a statement.
As Trump and his allies ramp up their efforts to undermine the Russia probe, a growing number of Americans are taking notice. According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans now believe Trump has impeded or obstructed the investigation.
Trump may be hoping to slip something past the public by waiting for the holidays to pounce — but Americans stand ready to defend the Constitution any and every day of the week.