GOP senator: Firing Mueller could trigger impeachment
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (Utah) warned on Wednesday that a "crisis" could be triggered if President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE fires special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE, potentially including impeachment. 

"Firing Mr. Mueller would be a grave error. It would trigger a crisis, possibly even impeachment," Hatch, a former chairman and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed

He added that letting Mueller finish his probe into the 2016 election and potential collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign is in the country's and Trump's "best interest." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Firing Mueller, a former FBI director who is widely respected in Washington "would threaten many of the administration’s accomplishments and make continued progress virtually impossible," Hatch wrote.

Hatch's op-ed comes ahead of a vote Thursday in the Judiciary Committee on legislation that would limit Trump's ability to fire Mueller. 

The bill would make it so only a senior Justice Department official could fire Mueller. It would also let Mueller or any other special counsel challenge their firing. They would be reinstated if a court determined it wasn't for "good cause."

Hatch is expected to vote against the bill because he believes it's unconstitutional. He's also repeatedly told reporters that he doesn't believe Trump will ultimately fire the special counsel. 

"I endorse the message the special-counsel bill is meant to send. But I take seriously the responsibility to ensure that the laws Congress passes comport with the Constitution," Hatch added in his Wall Street Journal op-ed. 

Trump has lashed out at Mueller following the FBI's raid on the office, home and hotel room of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. The raid was sparked, in part, by a referral from Mueller's team. 

But Trump downplayed speculation that he wanted to fire Mueller, despite reports that he has previously tried but ultimately backed down. 

"If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him. Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!" he tweeted earlier this month.