Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe

Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe
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GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Senators introduce bill to respond to Khashoggi killing MORE (Maine) on Wednesday warned the Trump administration against interfering with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia investigation, saying he "must be allowed" to finish it. 

"It is imperative that the Administration not impede the Mueller investigation. I’m concerned Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' MORE will no longer be overseeing the probe," Collins said in a string of tweets. 
 
Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said that Mueller "must be allowed to complete his work without interference" regardless of who is the attorney general. 
Collins's remarks are among the first signs of concern from the Senate Republican Conference, which has largely met the news of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump labels Schiff ‘little Adam Schitt’ Top House Oversight Dem says he will do ‘anything and everything’ to make Mueller’s findings public Watchdog group demands release of Whitaker's financial disclosures MORE's ouster earlier in the day with a collective shrug.
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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was put in charge of the investigation after Sessions recused himself last year. 
 
 
Collins's concerns were echoed by Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySome of us Midwesterners think maybe Amy Klobuchar would do OK as president Electric car tax credit is just corporate welfare for Elon Musk Utah New Members 2019 MORE (R-Utah), who also weighed in, saying it was "imperative" that Mueller be able to continue his probe. 
 
"I want to thank Jeff Sessions for his service to our country as Attorney General. Under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, it is imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded," he said in a tweet. 
Romney has gained attention both nationally and within the Senate GOP caucus as a someone who could push back against Trump once he comes to Washington next year.
 
Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Trump’s relationship with Saudi crown prince under pressure Graham urges McConnell to allow vote on bill to protect Mueller MORE (R-Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: 'Everything points' to Saudi crown prince ordering Khashoggi's killing CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder: report  McConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe MORE (R-Tenn.), two of the biggest Trump critics, are retiring at the end of the year, while Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Cindy McCain takes aim at Trump: We need a strong leader, 'not a negative Nancy' MORE (R-Ariz.) died in August following a battle with brain cancer. 
 
Romney and Collins's pushback on Wednesday comes after Trump announced that he was ousting Sessions from the top Justice Department spot and that Whitaker, his chief of staff, will take over in an acting role including overseeing the Russia probe.
 
Whitaker's ascendence immediately set off alarm bells among congressional Democrats. He's previously criticized the Mueller investigation, including warning in a 2017 op-ed that Mueller was "dangerously close to crossing" a line if he looked into the Trump family's finances.