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

California Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE (D) took aim at allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE on Wednesday, claiming that those involved in the investigation have hindered special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network 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 PapadopoulosWe need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats Trump asked Australian leader to help look into Mueller probe's origins: report US attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal 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 FlakeVulnerable senators hold the key to Trump's fate Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong How to survive an impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.), who has pledged to block the president's judicial nominees until the issue is resolved.