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

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump, Democrats clinch two-year budget deal Overnight Energy: Senators push back on EPA's new FOIA rule | Agency digs in on rule change | Watchdog expands ethics probe of former EPA air chief Bipartisan senators fight 'political considerations' in EPA's new FOIA rule MORE (R-Texas) warned on Tuesday that it would be a “big mistake” for President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction 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, Wyden reach deal to lower drug prices Overnight Energy: Senators push back on EPA's new FOIA rule | Agency digs in on rule change | Watchdog expands ethics probe of former EPA air chief Bipartisan senators fight 'political considerations' in EPA's new FOIA rule MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it would be “suicide” to fire the former FBI director. Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric 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.