Lindsey Graham: Trump firing Mueller would 'probably' be impeachable offense

Lindsey Graham: Trump firing Mueller would 'probably' be impeachable offense
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure MORE (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that if President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE fired special counsel 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, it would "probably" be an impeachable offense.

Graham, a House prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former President Clinton, was asked if firing Mueller would be an impeachable offense during an interview on Hugh Hewitt's radio program.

"Probably so, if he did it without cause, yeah," Graham responded. 


"I think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose," Graham explained. 

Graham said that while he has seen no evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russians, "to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a constitutional crisis." 

Graham's comments came after Trump attorney John Dowd called last week for Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinHouse Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Media leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations MORE to "bring an end" to Mueller's probe.

Dowd referenced the "courageous" action by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe MORE over questions of bias. 

Trump, Graham said, is not without reason for being upset with the Department of Justice over its surveillance of members of his 2016 campaign. But he said Mueller should be left alone.

"He would be wrong, in my view, to try to stop this investigation without cause on the Mueller side," he said. 

Earlier this week, Graham pledged to make sure Mueller's investigation continues without any political interference, and warned that Trump firing the special counsel would herald "the beginning of the end of his presidency." 

Trump reportedly ordered for the firing of Mueller earlier on in Mueller's investigation, but withdrew after top White House lawyers threatened to resign over the matter. 

Graham’s remarks were markedly different from those of Sen. Angus KingAngus KingCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Biden struggles to detail post-withdrawal Afghanistan plans Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (Vt.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

King said that it would be a “crisis” if Trump fired Mueller, but noted that he does not see it as an impeachable offense.

“High crimes and misdemeanors is the standard for impeachment, and I have a high standard for impeachment,” King told Hewitt. “I don’t think impeachment should be used to change a government you don’t like.”

“I wouldn’t say it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, but I certainly think it’s going to create a real problem,” he added.

Max Greenwood contributed 

Updated at 12:14 p.m.