NYT editorial board: Republicans must defend Mueller against Trump

NYT editorial board: Republicans must defend Mueller against Trump
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The New York Times editorial board on Sunday urged Republican lawmakers to stand up to President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE if he moves to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

The newspaper’s editorial board wrote that Republicans will be responsible for ensuring there are consequences if Trump fires the special counsel.

While many have warned Trump against firing Mueller amid his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, few have voiced support for legislation to protect the special counsel.

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“If the president does move against the investigators, it will be up to Congress to reaffirm the rule of law, the separation of powers and the American constitutional order,” the editorial board wrote. 

The opinion piece was published after the president spent part of last week attacking Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

The president last week called the special counsel's investigation a “witch hunt,” claimed Mueller’s team was biased and said multiple people have suggested he fire the special counsel. Trump has reportedly ordered Mueller's firing twice before.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday she's "not aware" of plans to fire Mueller.

The Times noted on Sunday that some Republicans may be tempted to fall in line with the party if the president fired the special counsel under the premise that they can carry out the GOP agenda moving forward.

However, the editorial board warned that doing so would endanger the American political system.

“The president is not a king but a citizen, deserving of the presumption of innocence and other protections, yet also vulnerable to lawful scrutiny,” the editorial board wrote.

“We hope Mr. Trump recognizes this. If he doesn’t, how Republican lawmakers respond will shape the future not only of this presidency and of one of the country’s great political parties, but of the American experiment itself.”