U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Sunday it would not hurt if Congress passed legislation to prevent President Trump from firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

Collins said such legislation would send a message to the White House that “we want the investigation to continue.” But she said Trump would never sign it.

Collins, Maine’s senior senator and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made her remarks on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

The program centered on the Mueller investigation, fired FBI Director James Comey’s about-to-be-released memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” and what Trump had to say about it in a flood of angry tweets over the past few days.

Sen. Angus King, another member of the Intelligence Committee, also briefly commented on the Mueller investigation and the criminal investigation of the president’s lawyer Michael Cohen on CNN’s “State of the Union” news show Sunday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Collins said that even if Trump were to fire Mueller or his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians would continue. She said she cannot imagine the Senate confirming a new deputy attorney general without the assurance that the investigation would continue.


While Trump has repeatedly called Comey a liar and leaker in his tweets in recent days, Collins said she has seen no evidence of a crime committed by Comey.

She said Comey was credible and candid during testimony before the Intelligence Committee. She said that during that hearing Comey admitted he had leaked information to someone outside the FBI about his conversations with Trump concerning the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Collins said what was disturbing to her was that Comey’s leak violated the FBI’s own guidelines, “which he himself helped to write.”

“That is troubling to me,” the senator added.

She said Comey misstepped in the summer of 2016 at a press conference when he announced the decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over the use of a private email server and then excoriated her handling of classified information. Collins said at that point Comey stepped over the line from making legal to political assessments.

“That is not an appropriate role for the FBI,” she said.


King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that whatever happens to Mueller won’t affect the prosecution of Cohen, whose records were seized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York last week in an investigation that is separate from the special counsel’s.

“It’s a serious matter, no question,” King said. “Because Mr. Cohen’s name coming up in connection with all those things, whether it’s Stormy Daniels or the Russians. He seems to have some involvement in all of those things.”

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:


Twitter: bquimby

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