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Flake: Trump 'seems to be building' toward firing Mueller

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE seems to be building toward firing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' MORE was dismissed Friday.

“It was a horrible day for democracy. To have firings like this happening at the top from the president and the attorney general does not speak well for what’s going on,” Flake said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Asked if he believes the president is laying the groundwork to fire Mueller, Flake said “it seems to be building towards that. But I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t.”

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Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE fired McCabe on Friday, just days before the ex-FBI official was set to retire and be eligible for his pension. Trump has personally attacked McCabe in the past, and celebrated his firing as "a great day for democracy."

Trump also took to Twitter this weekend to double down on his long-held opposition to the Mueller-led investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He asserted Saturday that the probe “should never have been started.” 

On Sunday, he claimed Mueller’s team is entirely made up of Democrats. Mueller himself is a Republican. 

Flake on Sunday called any attempts to fire Mueller a “massive red line” that he believes fellow Republicans would push back against. 

Flake, who has frequently criticized Trump’s rhetoric and is not seeking reelection this year, has prompted speculation that he might launch a White House bid in 2020. Flake, 55, spoke in New Hampshire on Friday at an event that typically hosts future presidential candidates.

On Sunday, Flake did not provide further clarity on his future plans, but reiterated his hope that a Republican will challenge Trump. 

“What I’m seeing is there is a crying need out there for some Republican to stand up and say ‘this is not normal, this is not right,’ ” Flake said.