Bipartisan Senate duo urge Trump to let Mueller complete work
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators is urging President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE to let special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE finish his probe into the 2016 election, saying it would be in his “best interest.”

“We urge President Trump to allow the Special Counsel to complete his work without impediment, which is in the best interest of the American people, the President, and our nation,” Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (R-N.C.) and Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE (D-Del.) said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

They added that they have “heard from constituents ... who agree that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be able to conduct his investigation without interference. This should not be a partisan issue.”

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It’s unclear what prompted the senators' statement, which comes near the beginning of a two-week recess for Congress.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the president's legal team, but not directly about the investigation, during Tuesday's White House press conference. 

A spokesperson for Coons didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Asked about the timing, a spokesman for Tillis said “no particular reason, Senators Tillis and Coons are simply reiterating their position on Special Counsel Mueller.”

Trump earlier this month began criticizing Mueller more directly.

In a tweet, he decried the investigation as a “witch hunt.”

“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added ... does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!,” Trump wrote.

The White House has repeatedly denied that Trump is planning to fire 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 White House counsel threatened to resign. 

Senators have introduced two bills to limit Trump's ability to fire Mueller, but those proposals have stalled for months in the Judiciary Committee.

One proposed bill, from GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Graham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet MORE (S.C.) and Democratic Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions Biden says he will review executive actions after police reform talks fail 11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill MORE (N.J.), would require a judge to approve a Justice Department request to fire Mueller or any other special counsel.

A second bill, from Tillis and Coons, would let Mueller or any special counsel challenge their firing in court.

Tillis and Coons added on Tuesday that they introduced their bill “because we believe that the American people should have confidence in the Department of Justice’s ability to conduct independent investigations and its commitment to the rule of law."”

But Republicans argue the legislation is not necessary and appear deeply skeptical that Trump would fire Mueller, who is widely respected in Washington. They've also raised questions about whether the bills are constitutional. 

Olivia Beavers contributed