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

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyDem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving Dem rep on Trump 'Adam Schitt' tweet: 'I feel like I'm back in seventh grade' Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year 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 recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally MORE (R-Ariz.) as examples of Republicans who voiced their disagreements with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ 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 Booker2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Ocasio-Cortez returns to 'The Late Show' on Monday We need action on personal cybersecurity MORE (D-N.J.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Sunday shows preview: Washington heads into multi-day shutdown MORE (D-Del.) introduced a bill protecting Mueller from being unjustly fired, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback 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.