No. 2 Senate Republican: ‘Big mistake’ to fire Mueller 
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE (R-Texas) warned on Tuesday that it would be a “big mistake” for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE to fire 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 and predicted it would not happen.

“I don't think the president's going to fire him because I think it would be a big mistake,” he told The Hill.

Pressed on the consequences, the No. 2 Senate Republican urged Trump to let Mueller continue his probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

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“I don't think he or I or anybody could predict what the consequences might be, but there would be a lot of backlash, so I think he should just let Mr. Mueller do his job,” he said. 

Cornyn was one of several Republicans on Tuesday who doubled down on warnings that Trump leave Mueller alone.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBottom Line Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it would be “suicide” to fire the former FBI director. 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 (R-N.C.), downplaying Trump’s comments, told CNN that “thematically, he has said similar things before.”

Cornyn separately told reporters that lawmakers have warned the White House that it would be a mistake to fire Mueller.

“I think it's pretty universally being conveyed,” he said. 

Trump is lashing out after the FBI raided Michael Cohen's offices and hotel room reportedly off a referral from Mueller's team. 

“Attorney–client privilege is dead!” Trump said in a tweet, adding: “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”

He said Monday that “many people” had said he should fire Mueller.

But doing so would cause a tremendous storm in Washington with consequences that could fall on Republicans in the midterm elections, which are taking center stage on Capitol Hill.

Republicans are increasingly worried about holding onto their House majority in an election season likely to be defined by Trump. They have a much better chance of holding the majority in the Senate, because Democrats are defending more than twice as many seats as the GOP.

Senators have introduced two bills that would limit Trump and the Justice Department's ability to fire Mueller. But GOP leadership has downplayed the need for the legislation because they don’t believe Trump will fire Mueller.