Swalwell: Trump uses Mueller investigation 'as a shield and as a sword'
© Greg Nash

California Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellInslee seeking third term as governor after ending presidential bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D) took aim at allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE on Wednesday, claiming that those involved in the investigation have hindered special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's progress and complained about his team.

In an interview with Fox News, Swalwell called the investigation both a "shield" and a "sword" for Trump, who has accused the investigation frequently of being a "witch hunt" and an attempt by Democrats to challenge the legitimacy of his presidency.

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"You know, the president uses the investigation as a shield and as a sword," Swalwell told "Outnumbered" host Harris Faulkner.

"By lying, tampering, and obstructing, which we've seen from people indicted, they are able to shield themselves from Mueller getting to the truth," he added. "And then they use the delay that happens when you lie, obstruct and tamper as a sword to say, 'Oh it's taking too long, we should wind it down.' "

Mueller, so far, has obtained guilty pleas from former Trump associates Michael Flynn, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios Papadopoulos10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Flynn, Papadopoulos to speak at event preparing 'social media warriors' for 'digital civil war' Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference MORE and Richard Gates. He also has obtained indictments against more than 20 Russian nationals.

"The president, I think, if he would just cooperate with Mueller, answer the questions, sit down for an interview ... he controls the fate of this more than any person that's involved," Swalwell said.

The congressman, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee as well as the Judiciary Committee, has frequently criticized the president for attempting to discredit Mueller's special counsel investigation.

Swalwell also said Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC that he would not vote to continue funding the federal government absent a vote on a bill to protect the special counsel investigation.

"I'm not voting for any legislation to keep the government open that doesn't include protecting Bob Mueller," he added Wednesday. "We have to do all we can to protect Mueller."

Legislation to codify Justice Department regulations stating that only a senior member of the agency could fire Mueller or another special counsel was blocked in the Senate again Tuesday. The block marked a defeat for Democrats and other senators, including outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeAnti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid Arpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument MORE (R-Ariz.), who has pledged to block the president's judicial nominees until the issue is resolved.