Dem senator: It's likely that Trump will fire Mueller

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion MORE (D-Del.) said on Friday that he believes that President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE is likely to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE, saying that the recent ousters of top administration officials make such a move all the more probable.

"I think the president's abrupt recent actions in how he dismissed the [Veterans Affairs] secretary, the secretary of State, other key members of his Cabinet suggest that this is something he is likely to do," Coons said.

Coons said that many lawmakers believe that it would be "dreadful" if Trump fired Mueller, who is carrying out the law enforcement investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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But many of those same lawmakers do not think that Trump would actually go through with it, Coons said. He challenged that notion by pointing to the recent spate of dismissals among the top ranks of the Trump administration.

Trump has moved in recent weeks to shake up his Cabinet. The series of firings began earlier this month with the abrupt dismissal of Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonLeaked Trump transition vetting documents show numerous officials with 'red flags': Axios Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration Trump's nastiest break-ups: A look at the president's most fiery feuds MORE. That was followed by the resignation of national security adviser H.R. McMaster last week.

And on Wednesday, Trump announced that he had fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinTrump sent policy pitch from Mar-a-Lago member to VA secretary: report Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? It’s time to end the scare tactics and get to work for our veterans MORE and tapped White House physician Ronny Jackson to replace him.

Trump has publicly and privately bristled at Mueller's investigation, which he has called a "witch hunt" intended to undermine his presidency. Those complaints have long fed speculation that he could try to fire the special counsel.

The New York Times reported in January that Trump had once tried to have Mueller fired shortly after the special counsel's appointment last year. The president reportedly backed off from that demand after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign.

Some lawmakers have called for Congress to pass legislation that would curb the president's ability to do away with Mueller. One proposal, introduced by Coons and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDemocratic challenger leads Tillis by 1 point in North Carolina poll GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner MORE (R-N.C.), would require that Mueller be informed in writing of the specific reason for his firing and that he be given the ability to appeal such a decision.