Dem rep: Trump threatened Mueller by trying to set limits for Russia probe
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) accused President Trump on Thursday of threatening special counsel Robert Mueller by saying that the former FBI director would cross a line if his investigation into Russian election meddling delves into the Trump family's finances.
"He was basically saying, 'I'll fire you if you go beyond this limit,' and he has no legal right to set that limit," Connolly told CNN's Jake Tapper.
"Yes, it's within his constitutional purview to fire the special counsel, but there will be a firestorm in reaction to that, should he do it, and he'll destroy his presidency over this," he added.
Mueller is leading the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Part of that probe is examining potential financial ties between members of the president's campaign and Russian interests.
Trump told The New York Times in an interview on Wednesday that Mueller was leading an investigation riddled with conflicts of interest, and said the special counsel should not expand the probe to include the financial dealings of Trump's family.
“I think that’s a violation," Trump said. "Look, this is about Russia.”
But Connolly said that Trump has no right to set the parameters of Mueller's investigation. He also accused the president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner of colluding with Russia by attending a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer who was presented as having damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
"For him to decide my family is off limits – his family made money in Russia, your family has ties to oligarchs, your family just admitted it met with Russian operatives to discuss the election. That's collusion," Connolly said.
Investigators have been looking into ties between Trump associates and Russia, with Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer gaining intense scrutiny.