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 CollinsOvernight 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 McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO 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 Rosenstein5 myths about William Barr William Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress 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 SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known 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 RomneyDem leaders avert censure vote against Steve King GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King 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 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 Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Former US special envoy to anti-ISIS coalition joins Stanford University as lecturer MORE (R-Tenn.), two of the biggest Trump critics, are retiring at the end of the year, while 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.) 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.