Lindsey Graham: Trump firing Mueller would 'probably' be impeachable offense

Lindsey Graham: Trump firing Mueller would 'probably' be impeachable offense
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate panel advances three spending bills Trump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official MORE (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that if President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE fired special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, it would "probably" be an impeachable offense.

Graham, a House prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former President Clinton, was asked if firing Mueller would be an impeachable offense during an interview on Hugh Hewitt's radio program.

"Probably so, if he did it without cause, yeah," Graham responded. 

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"I think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose," Graham explained. 

Graham said that while he has seen no evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russians, "to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a constitutional crisis." 

Graham's comments came after Trump attorney John Dowd called last week for Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinGrassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report Top House Dem claims Judiciary chairman's DOJ, FBI subpoena is invalid Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe MORE to "bring an end" to Mueller's probe.

Dowd referenced the "courageous" action by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance Grassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report Sessions: 'We never really intended' to separate families MORE to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTop House Dem claims Judiciary chairman's DOJ, FBI subpoena is invalid Hillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Senate Intel requests more testimony from Comey, McCabe MORE over questions of bias. 

Trump, Graham said, is not without reason for being upset with the Department of Justice over its surveillance of members of his 2016 campaign. But he said Mueller should be left alone.

"He would be wrong, in my view, to try to stop this investigation without cause on the Mueller side," he said. 

Earlier this week, Graham pledged to make sure Mueller's investigation continues without any political interference, and warned that Trump firing the special counsel would herald "the beginning of the end of his presidency." 

Trump reportedly ordered for the firing of Mueller earlier on in Mueller's investigation, but withdrew after top White House lawyers threatened to resign over the matter. 

Graham’s remarks were markedly different from those of Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingIcebreaking ships are not America’s top priority in the Arctic Heckler yells ‘Mr. President, f--- you’ as Trump arrives at Capitol Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families MORE (Vt.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

King said that it would be a “crisis” if Trump fired Mueller, but noted that he does not see it as an impeachable offense.

“High crimes and misdemeanors is the standard for impeachment, and I have a high standard for impeachment,” King told Hewitt. “I don’t think impeachment should be used to change a government you don’t like.”

“I wouldn’t say it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, but I certainly think it’s going to create a real problem,” he added.

Max Greenwood contributed 

Updated at 12:14 p.m.