Dems to top DOJ officials: Publicly promise not to interfere in Mueller's probe
© Greg Nash

Several Senate Democrats are urging top officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make a public commitment that they will not interfere in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's probe, including refusing potential requests from the White House.

“We have significant concerns that the president or his White House could order individuals at the Department of Justice with the authority to oversee Special Counsel Mueller’s probe to interfere with the probe or shut it down," they wrote in letters dated March 7 but released publicly on Tuesday.

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Democrats aim to block defense money from being used on Trump border wall MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments On The Money: Democrats move funding bills as budget caps deal remains elusive | Companies line up to weigh in on 0B China tariffs | Trudeau to talk trade with Pelosi, McConnell MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? Democrats hope some presidential candidates drop out — and run for Senate  MORE (R.I.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account New push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road MORE (Calif.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion MORE (Del.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFemale senators hatch plan to 'shame' Senate into voting faster Female senators hatch plan to 'shame' Senate into voting faster Trump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE (Calif.) signed the letters.

The senators said they were sending the letters to individuals who are in the line of succession if Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon GOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad MORE "were to either resign or be removed."

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Identical copies went to Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert Higdon and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

The senators are asking the DOJ officials to provide a written and public commitment to refuse to interfere in Mueller's investigation, which centers around Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collision between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

"As such, we ask that you publicly commit to refuse any order or request – whether express or implied – to interfere in the Special Counsel’s investigation, including but not limited to firing Mr. Mueller, cutting off funding or resources, limiting staffing, or inhibiting his ability to follow the facts wherever they may lead and hold those accountable who may have broken the law," they wrote.

The public release of the letter comes the same day Coons and GOP Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (N.C.) said in a joint statement that it was in Trump's "best interest" to let Mueller's probe continue unimpeded.

Senators have introduced two bills that would limit Trump's ability to fire Mueller unilaterally. But Republicans argue legislation isn't needed because they do not believe the president will actually fire the former FBI director, who is widely respected in Washington.

The Trump administration has repeatedly denied that the president is considering firing Mueller. But The New York Times reported earlier this year that he ordered staff to fire him in mid-2017, before ultimately backing down when his general counsel threatened to resign.