California Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' Schiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House Jan. 6 panel to pursue criminal contempt referral for Bannon MORE (D) on Friday blasted President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.
"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.”