Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyLawmakers point to entitlements when asked about deficits Mueller Day falls flat Mueller on Trump's WikiLeaks embrace: 'Problematic is an understatement' MORE (D-Ill.) said he is disheartened that Republican lawmakers who pushed to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign will be gone from the next Congress.

“What’s disheartening for me is that those who have stepped up, are those Republicans who are leaving,” Quigley said on CNN Tuesday, citing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeArpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainFighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire MORE (R-Ariz.) as examples of Republicans who voiced their disagreements with President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE’s criticisms of Mueller.

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“This is the time to step up. This is the extraordinary period of our life where the rule of law and constitutional protections are at risk,” he added.

Quigley had been asked about a letter signed by 44 former senators calling on the Senate to defend democracy and warning that the country is entering a "dangerous period." They want lawmakers to pass legislation that would protect Mueller's probe.

Flake, along with Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Steve King to Gillibrand: Odds of me resigning same as yours of winning presidential nomination We need a climate plan for agriculture MORE (D-N.J.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Biden faces scrutiny for his age from other Democrats Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation MORE (D-Del.) introduced a bill protecting Mueller from being unjustly fired, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (R-Ky.) has said the upper chamber will not take up the legislation. Many Republicans who have been vocal critics of Trump will be exiting the House and Senate after this term.

"I'll put it this way. The president has abused his power," Quigley told CNN. "We have seen detailed accounts of the Trump financial and political world forging ties with a foreign adversary for their own political and financial gain. I believe there has been an effort, a conspiracy to work with Russians toward that end.

"I believe the President of the United States obstructed this investigation and others joined in that obstruction and I believe my Republican counterparts were complicit in that obstruction," he added.

Trump lashed out again at the Mueller probe after new revelations.

Friday’s filings revealed that Trump personally directed former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to make payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump. Those payments were determined earlier this year to have constituted campaign finance violations.

Mueller's team also said that former Trump campaign chairman Manafort lied to prosecutors about his contacts with the White House in violation of his plea agreement. 

Trump maintained that the filings “totally clears the President” and responded with a string of tweets in the following days ripping the Mueller investigation.

Updated at 10:53 a.m.