Senate

Collins: Mueller ‘must be allowed’ to continue Russia probe

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GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) on Wednesday warned the Trump administration against interfering with special counsel Robert Mueller’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 Rosenstein 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 Sessions’s ouster earlier in the day with a collective shrug.{mosads}
 
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was put in charge of the investigation after Sessions recused himself last year. 
 
Several GOP senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have lauded Sessions but skirted what impact his dismissal might have. 
 
Collins’s concerns were echoed by Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (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 Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), two of the biggest Trump critics, are retiring at the end of the year, while Sen. John McCain (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.  
Tags Bob Corker Jeff Flake Jeff Sessions John McCain Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Susan Collins

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