Top Intel Dem: Trump's order to fire Mueller was 'Nixonian'

Top Intel Dem: Trump's order to fire Mueller was 'Nixonian'
© Greg Nash

California Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCourt filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments House passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media MORE (D) on Friday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE following a report from The New York Times alleging that Trump ordered his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fire special prosecutor Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats 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.

In a statement, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned that Trump's reported order to fire Mueller was "Nixonian" in its intent, and called on Congress to act quickly to protect the special counsel.

"The reports that the President not only considered firing Special Counsel Mueller, but went so far as to order it, demonstrate the Nixonian lengths this President is prepared to go to protect himself," Schiff wrote.

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"Congress must make clear that any effort to remove the Special Counsel or impede his work would touch off a constitutional crisis which would imperil this Presidency and do grave damage to our nation."

Schiff went on to accuse Republicans of attacking the credibility of the FBI in the face of "undue interference" from the White House in the Russia investigation.

"Instead of protecting Mueller's investigation from undue interference, many Republicans in Congress have stepped up their spurious attacks against the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Special Counsel. It is time for them to put country and rule of law before party," he said.

Democrats in Congress have renewed calls for a bill to protect Mueller and his team from firing by the White House following the Times report Thursday that claimed Trump only backed off after McGahn threatened to quit over the order.

Last June, around the time the Times says Trump gave the order, Schiff warned that Congress would simply rehire Mueller if Trump ousted him from the special counsel's office.

“If President [Trump] fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller,” Schiff tweeted last year. “Don't waste our time.”