McConnell strongly defends Mueller, criticizes Trump for calling Putin

Joseph diGenova, a former United States attorney in the District of Columbia and a frequent television commentator, will join the team at a sensitive moment as Trump's lawyers weigh whether to make the president available for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller and under what terms. Meanwhile, the president has reportedly talked with associates about ditching Ty Cobb, the lawyer who has counseled cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and John Dowd, who is supposed to be in charge of the legal team, "has contemplated leaving his post because he has concluded that he has no control over the behavior of the president".

"I don't see the president firing him", the Oklahoma City Republican told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "I was opposed the the selection of Mueller to be Special Council, I still am opposed to it".

Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, has called for the end of the Russian Federation probe, although he has said he was not speaking on behalf of the president. Mr. Trump tweeted, commenting on the Mueller probe. But they have not yet endorsed proposals put forth by Democrats to safeguard Mueller from termination.

McConnell also was critical of Trump's decision to call Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his recent election victory. So I have a lot of confidence. However, Mueller's investigation has continued to build steam and led to indictments against top Trump officials, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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McConnell said it would not be necessary for Congress to take any action to protect the special counsel from firing.

He said the Mueller investigation "is irretrievably tainted from its inception and must end now". On "This Week", he said Mueller has avoided leaks and uncovered facts that laid the groundwork for more than a dozen indictments.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions should do his job and cut off all funding to the special counsel and stop this McCarthyism. The president ought to just drop this whole line of worrying about Mueller. Mueller, however, is a longtime Republican and was appointed by another Republican, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Other key Republican lawmakers have told Trump to cut it out. Mueller is a Republican. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said it would be "the stupidest thing" Trump could do. On Tuesday, however, he said he has "received assurances" the special counsel will not be fired and that "the special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to conclusion". That same day, Lankford reiterated his belief that Mueller should be allowed to finish his work.

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