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

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyDems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons Dems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Alito, Kagan oppose cameras in Supreme Court MORE (D-Ill.) said he is disheartened that Republican lawmakers who pushed to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 FlakeSchumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP McSally to back Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral Trump's approval rating stable at 45 percent GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' MORE (R-Ariz.) as examples of Republicans who voiced their disagreements with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE’s criticisms of Mueller.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 BookerWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Citizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Booker opens up about relationship with Rosario Dawson MORE (D-N.J.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  Senate Dems introduce bill demanding report on Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Del.) introduced a bill protecting Mueller from being unjustly fired, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism 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.