Top Democrat warns Trump against firing Russia probe chief, pardoning Flynn

Senator Mark Warner continues to worry about the prospect of US Donald Trump firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has warned US President Donald Trump against firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller or pardoning key witnesses like Michael Flynn in the continuing Russia investigation.

While Mr Trump has said he is not planning to fire Mr Mueller, Senator Mark Warner said on Wednesday that he continues to worry about that prospect.

Mr Warner cited what he said appeared to be a "coordinated" campaign to dismiss the special counsel or others in the Justice Department emanating from some right-wing media outlets and echoed by some members of the House.

"Congress must make clear to the President that firing the special counsel or interfering with his investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses is unacceptable and would have immediate and significant consequences," Mr Warner said on the Senate floor.

The senator from Virginia called Mr Trump's lack of actions against Russia "unnerving".

He later told reporters that the President, who has repeatedly referred to the Russia investigations as a "witch hunt", should let them continue. Mr Warner said that was the only way to lift a cloud that hangs over the administration.

Legislation aimed at protecting Mr Mueller's job has yet to move out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, although supporters are working on merging two Bills and hope to convince chairman Chuck Grassley that such an effort would be constitutional.

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