On Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) sent President Donald Trump a clear and unambiguous message: fire special counsel Robert Mueller at your peril. Tonight, he revealed why he may have felt compelled to draw that line in the sand as starkly as he did.
Speaking at an Axios Forum Thursday, Sen. Warner said he expects more indictments in Mueller’s investigation may be imminent. Prompted by Axios Founder Mike Allen, who hosted the session, Sen. Warner said that, while congress doesn’t “have near the tools that Robert Mueller has in his investigation, Mueller’s already had two indictments and two guilty pleas – and, I believe, more to come.”
Warner even said that we haven’t heard the last from Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, who he expects will be back under the spotlight in these investigations soon.
This comes hot on the heels of his excoriating address from the hallowed well of the Senate chamber the previous evening, when Sen. Warner used the speech to warn the president that any attempt to fire Mueller or otherwise cripple the investigation during the upcoming congressional recess – as has been rumored for days – would not be tolerated by Congress.
“Any attempt by this President to remove special counsel Mueller from his position 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,” Warner said. “These truly are red lines and simply cannot allow them to be crossed.”
Immediately dubbed the “Red Line speech,” Warner’s warning last night touched such a nerve with the president that the White House was out in force downplaying the very notion that Mueller was on the chopping block all day Thursday.
All indications suggest that Mueller’s investigation is closing in on the president’s inner-circle. That makes firing the special counsel politically perilous at this time because it risks the appearance – if not the reality – that Trump is attempting to obstruct justice.
At some point in the near future, however, Trump’s own survival will outweigh any political considerations, and then all bets are off for Mueller – consequences be damned.
You can watch Senator Warner’s comments as reported by MSNBC below: