South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that President Donald Trump should be impeached if he fires Robert Mueller as special counsel.
“I can’t think of a more upsetting moment in the rule of law to have an investigator looking at a president’s campaign as to whether or not they colluded with a foreign government, what kind of crimes may have been committed. I’ve seen no evidence of collusion, but to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a Constitutional crisis,” Graham told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Hewitt had asked Graham, a Republican, whether Trump firing Mueller would be an impeachable offense.
“Probably so, if he did it without cause, yeah,” Graham told the host.
Speculation has grown over the past week that Trump will fire Mueller, a former FBI director who took over the Russia investigation in May. Trump called Mueller’s investigation a “WITCH HUNT” that should have never been started, in a tweet sent Saturday. (RELATED: Rep. Ted Lieu: ‘Civil Unrest’ If Trump Fires Mueller)
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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel on May 17, a week after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. Rosenstein is overseeing the Russia probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the matter due to his role on the Trump presidential campaign.
Trump has denied that collusion occurred on his campaign, and he has reportedly fumed behind the scenes over the ever-expanding Mueller investigation, which is also looking into whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey.
Graham noted that there is no clear-cut threshold for impeachment. The “high crimes and misdemeanors” requirement for impeachable offenses is “a fairly vague term,” he said.
But Graham, who has become close to Trump in recent months, said that he would view Mueller’s firing as having “a corrupt purpose.”
“What the president will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign,” he said.
Hewitt posed the same question about impeachment to one of Graham’s colleagues, Maine Sen. Angus King. But King, an Independent, said that while he believes that firing Mueller would be “a crisis,” it would not warrant impeachment.
“I wouldn’t say it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, but I certainly think it’s going to create a real problem,” he said.