Ex-GOP majority leader: Republicans must protect Mueller

Ex-GOP majority leader: Republicans must protect Mueller
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Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) warned Republicans against continuing their "assault" against special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation in an op-ed published Friday.

Writing for The Washington Post, Frist urged the Republican Party to fight for the "rule of law," even if it means going up against the Trump administration.

"Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong," Frist wrote. "No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law."

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"I am also a Republican because I believe in the rule of law. Republicans must fight for that principle today — even if it means pushing back against a Republican administration," Frist wrote.

"It isn’t easy to tell a president of your own party that he is wrong. But the assault on Mueller’s investigation does not help the president or his party," he added.

"When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide. The president must remember that only Mueller’s exoneration can lift the cloud hanging over the White House," he wrote.

Frist argued that claims of "runaway legal authority," such as those made by former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump says he would consider pardons for those implicated in Mueller investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - Mask mandates, restrictions issued as COVID-19 spreads MORE in an attempt to have the charges against him dismissed, do not hold up against Mueller's record.

"I have worried over the years about runaway legal authority, and I’ve battled against activist judges. I don’t worry about Robert Mueller," he said.

"And his investigation is getting results: By any objective standard, he has moved swiftly, obtaining 23 indictments and five guilty pleas in just more than a year."

Frist went on to say that protecting Mueller's investigation was Congress's duty as a check on the executive branch of government.

"Congress must never abandon its role as an equal branch of government. In this moment, that means protecting Mueller’s investigation."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE has frequently sought to undermine Mueller's investigation, often dubbing it a "witch hunt," and accusing the special counsel of going beyond the original scope of the investigation to pursue charges unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans have attempted to discredit Mueller's special counsel investigation by accusing former members of Mueller's team of having anti-Trump bias. Most recently, GOP leaders seized on text messages sent by two former FBI employees as evidence of pervasive anti-Trump bias that they say tainted the investigation.