After FBI Raids, Warnings in Congress: Drums of Impeachment Will Bang If Trump Fires Special Counsel

WASHINGTON -- The president's rage about an FBI raid on the office and home of his lawyer sparked fresh warnings Tuesday against firing the special counsel Robert Mueller.Such a move, lawmakers from both parties said, would invite dire consequences -- and could be a tripwire for impeachment. Some Democrats have long itched for that outcome, while most Republicans have insisted that can only be justified by clear presidential meddling and obstruction of justice.Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the deputy Senate majority leader, said that firing Mueller would be a "big mistake.""I don't think he or I or anybody could predict what the consequences might be but there would be a lot of backlash, so I think he should just let Mr. Mueller do his job," he said.Republicans control Congress, though Democrats have a strong shot at taking back the House in November's elections. Impeachment is a two-step process that starts in the House, with trial in the Senate. The appetite for such a step has not existed. But that could change fast if Trump blocks Mueller's inquiry or the investigation of longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.Cohen is reportedly under investigation for, among other things, a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has been trying to sever a nondisclosure agreement about an alleged affair with Trump."It could cause some problems if Mueller is fired," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and Trump ally, told Fox Business News. "I don't know if that would be the smartest move."Tuesday was chaotic at the White House. The morning after news broke of the raids on Cohen, Trump scrapped a weekend trip to Peru for a summit with Western Hemisphere leaders. The theme of the summit: "Democratic Governance against Corruption." The White House said he needed to focus on the U.S. response to a chemical attack in Syria. Soon after that announcement, Trump's well-regarded homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, resigned -- pushed out, apparently, by the new national security adviser John Bolton. At the Capitol, reporters bombarded lawmakers with questions about the possibility of Trump firing Mueller or his boss, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Many Republicans downplayed the scenario -- but left the clear implication that support for Trump would crumble if he tries to derail the inquiry."It would be a disaster for him, and it would be a disaster for a lot of people," said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, adding that Trump won't fire Mueller unless he "goes way off track.""I didn't think that was something they should've done," Hatch said of the raid on Cohen's office. "But I still don't think that's going to cause the president to try to remove him."Trump's tweets Tuesday morning reflected fury at the direction the investigations have taken."A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!" he tweeted.  Continue reading...

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