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

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn On The Money: Trump, China announce 'Phase One' trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal On The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA MORE (R-Texas) warned on Tuesday that it would be a “big mistake” for President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts 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 GrassleyGrassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it would be “suicide” to fire the former FBI director. Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Democrats spend big to put Senate in play Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' 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.