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Trump lawyer calls for Rosenstein to shut down Mueller probe

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE's personal attorney on Saturday called on Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE to shut down special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation into Trump campaign associates' ties to Russia.

Trump lawyer John Dowd issued the call to "bring an end" the federal probe a day after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTime to bring federal employees home for every holiday Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 MORE fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, prompting firm pushback from Democrats.

"I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCarter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon The new marshmallow media in the Biden era MORE based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

"Just end it on the merits in light of recent revelations,” he added.

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Dowd had initially told The Daily Beast, which first reported his statement, that he was speaking as Trump's counsel, but the lawyer later said he was speaking in a personal capacity. A clarification from Dowd was communicated to The Hill by another member of the president's legal team.

Trump's lawyer issued the statement after the president celebrated the firing of McCabe on Twitter late Friday night, calling it "a great day for Democracy."

“Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” Trump wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) warned Trump and his legal team against any effort to shutter the special counsel investigation.

"Mr. Dowd's comments are yet another indication that the first instinct of the president and his legal team is not to cooperate with Special Counsel Mueller, but to undermine him at every turn," Schumer said in a statement Saturday.

"The president, the administration, and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel's investigation or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans."

Rosenstein has been overseeing the special counsel probe after Sessions recused himself last year over his contacts with Russians during his time as an adviser to the Trump campaign.

Sessions fired McCabe on Friday, two days before the No. 2 FBI official was set to retire, following an internal watchdog review. McCabe had stepped down from his position in January amid pressure from Trump and Republicans.

In firing McCabe, Sessions said the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General had found that the senior FBI official made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and "lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions."

McCabe denied that charge, claiming he was fired in an effort to undermine Mueller's probe, of which he is a potential witness.

“The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong. This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness,” McCabe told The New York Times.

McCabe had faced months of criticism from Trump and other administration officials for his role in the FBI's investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Katko fends off Democratic opponent in New York race Harris County GOP chairman who made racist Facebook post resigns MORE's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State.

Trump repeatedly accused the official of being biased against him by citing his wife's 2015 Democratic bid for office in Virginia and acceptance of donations from Clinton allies. 

House Republicans also mentioned McCabe in a controversial memo alleging an improper surveillance authorization by the FBI and Justice Department on a Trump campaign aide, citing the use of a dossier of opposition research that was used in the warrant application.

Trump had reportedly ordered the firing of Mueller last year, but ultimately backed off when White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign.

The president's lawyers were also reportedly trying to find instances supporting the president's claims that Mueller had conflicts of interest in the case.

Trump's lawyers are in talks with Mueller's team to negotiate terms of a potential interview with the president as part of the sprawling probe.

Mueller's team has secured guilty pleas from three former Trump campaign associates and has brought various charges against a fourth, former Trump campaign chair Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges to NY high court MORE.

As part of the probe, the special counsel has reportedly been interested in Trump's decision last year to fire former FBI Director James Comey, who spearheaded the federal Russia probe before Mueller was appointed last year.

Trump has repeatedly decried the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt," while Democrats have continued to voice concerns that the president may try to bring the probe to an end.
 

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Trump pardons Michael Flynn MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, noted that "it's impossible to evaluate the merits" of McCabe's firing since the Justice Department's inspector general has not released the report that triggered the disciplinary process that resulted in the recommendation that he be fired.

However, he tweeted, "That it comes after the President urged the DOJ to deprive McCabe of his pension, and after his testimony, gives the action an odious taint."

— Niall Stanage contributed to this report, which was updated at 2:40 p.m.