The longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate today put Donald Trump on notice that if he fires Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or any other official as a way to slow down or stop the Special Counsel’s probe, the president will face severe legal consequences.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senior Democratic Senator from Vermont, was responding to reports that President Trump has quietly asked his allies to go on TV news shows and find ways to undermine Rosenstein without making it look like Trump is trying to interfere in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and related matters
I have a message for President @realDonaldTrump: Any attempt to fire senior Justice Department officials to curtail the Russia investigation is no different than firing the Special Counsel himself. It would likely constitute obstruction of justice, and it will not stand. https://t.co/vSt1qKK3yl
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) April 13, 2018
“Allies of Trump in recent days have gone on an offensive against Rosenstein since the FBI on Monday raided the offices, residence and hotel room of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen,” reports The Hill, citing The Wall St. Journal as a source.
“The raid, which Rosenstein reportedly approved,” continues The Hill, “deeply angered Trump given his close relationship with his attorney.”
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that his supporters should watch the Hannity show on Fox News, where non-journalist and uber-Trump supporters Sean Hannity called for Rosenstein to be fire
Democrats like Leahy are adamant that if Trump fires Rosenstein and then Mueller it will precipitate a constitutional crisis that could lead to his impeachment, although with Republicans in control of Congress that is no sure thing.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: If you fire Mueller or Rosenstein, not only will millions & millions of rational Americans oppose you, it guarantees Dems take back the House & Senate.
Also, it makes you look more like Nixon. Do you want to look more like Nixon? https://t.co/XBAK9GDeE2
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2018
Meanwhile, Trump’s allies are nipping at Rosenstein where ever possible.
Another big Trump booster, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chair of the alt-right Tea Party favorite Freedom Caucus, a group of the most conservative members of the House, has been attacking Rosenstein for failing to promptly send Justice Department documents they are seeking for Congressional investigations.
Meadows this week said if Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein won’t deliver the documents quickly, “let’s find two who will.”
That line of attack sidesteps the question of Rosenstein’s role in hiring and overseeing Mueller but ignores the fact that if Trump does fire him, the majority of Americans will immediately recognize it as a move toward getting rid of Mueller and his probe.
Meadows attack may also have lost some credibility because in the last day Rosenstein has given access to documents that led to the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
Rep. Devon Nunes (R-Ca.) had threatened to hold Rosenstein in contempt and to possibly impeach him if he didn’t meet their demands for documents.
Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) were at the Justice Department on Wednesday where they viewed electronic forms of the documents and were given access to another thousand pages of classified material.