Attorney general under Reagan, Bush urges GOP to defend Mueller
© Getty Images

A former U.S. attorney general under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush is calling on members of Congress — Republicans included — to safeguard the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

In an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Saturday, Dick Thornburgh expressed concern about what he called "unfair attacks on the Justice Department" perpetrated by some lawmakers and the White House. 

He also voiced confidence for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE, who is carrying out the criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, praising him as "serious but not sensational and loyal to the rule of law."


"Elected officials must stress unambiguously their support of the role of the special counsel and guard his right to pursue this investigation in a fair and impartial manner," Thornburgh wrote. 

"Through whatever means members of Congress deem appropriate, they must defend the rule of law and the integrity of the special counsel’s mission."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE himself has repeatedly attacked the FBI, the Justice Department and the special counsel investigation, which he deems a "witch hunt" and a "hoax."

In recent weeks, he and some of his allies have floated the notion that the FBI planted a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign, though no evidence has surfaced to back up that claim. Trump also asserted twice this week that he has the power to pardon himself, should he face criminal charges, but insisted that he has done nothing wrong.

At the same time, some congressional Republicans have questioned the special counsel investigation, as well as the FBI and Justice Department's actions during the 2016 presidential race. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) this week waved off Trump and his allies' claims that the FBI had spied on his campaign, and also asserted that the president cannot pardon himself.

"Nobody is above the law," he said.