'He will not let this investigation run its natural course': Trump's war on the DOJ is reaching new levels



President Donald Trump has put his attorney general and the FBI's special counsel in his crosshairs in recent days. Trump's team is reportedly looking for ways to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump's maneuvers have once again raised the possibility that he could look to dismiss Mueller. President Donald Trump has escalated his war against the Justice Department in recent days, placing his attorney general and the FBI special counsel as he grows increasingly irritated with the expanding Russia investigation.

On Wednesday, Trump told The New York Times that he wouldn't have hired Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he had known he was going to recuse himself from the probe into Russia's election interference and whether his campaign team at all collaborated. He also attacked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, suggesting a bias because he was from Baltimore (though he is not) and "there are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any."

A bombshell Washington Post report published Thursday night, and quickly echoed by a New York Times report, delineated clear battle lines: Trump and his legal team are searching for ways to discredit special counsel Bob Mueller and laying the groundwork to fire him.

Trump had been disturbed to learn that Mueller was digging into his business dealings and financial history, which he had previously suggested to the Times would be a "red line." Trump was particularly irked by the possibility that Mueller could access his tax returns, according to The Washington Post.

"Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job," Trump told the Times, referring to the period when Mueller was being considered to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. "There were many other conflicts that I haven't said, but I will at some point."

Trump's legal team is reportedly looking into Mueller's previous working relationship with Comey and a dispute involving Trump's golf course as possible conflicts of interest. But experts say there is no evidence that Mueller has engaged in any inappropriate behavior that would warrant his removal.

An early conflict of interest concern involved his law firm's representation of some of the people caught up in the investigation, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser. That potential conflict resolved by the Justice Department, which granted Mueller a waiver to move forward with the probe, according to NPR.

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Jared Kushner through the years
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Jared Kushner through the years
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 08: Jared Kushner attends the New York premiere of 'Factotum' at the IFC Center Theater. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JUNE 16: Laura Englander and Jared Kushner attend The Partnership for Public Service's Third Annual Black Tie Gala Honoring John McCain with 'The Theodore Roosevelt Award for the Advancement of Public Service' at Waldorf-Astoria on June 16, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Jared Kushner during Miss Potter New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals at DGA Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MAY 8: Mort Zuckerman and Jared Kushner attend TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People 2007 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 8, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by PATRICK MCMULLAN/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JUNE 14: (L-R) Jerry Della Famina, Matthew Weiner and Jared Kushner attend AMC Hosts a Special Preview and Discussion of Their Provocative New Series 'MAD MEN' at Michael's on June 14, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Michael Moore and Jared Kushner during 'Sicko' New York City Premiere - Reception at Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for The Weinstein Company)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Owner of the New York Observer Jared Kushner arrives at The Metropolitan Opera's Opening Night at Lincoln Center September 24, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Metropolitan Opera)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEPTEMBER 9: (L-R) Ivanka Trump, Narciso Rodriguez and Jared Kushner attend Afterparty for the NARCISO RODRIGUEZ Spring/Summer 2008 Collection at Gramercy Park Hotel on September 9, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JOE SCHILDHORN/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 13: vanka Trump (in Elie Saab and Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry) and Jared Kushner attend The Young Fellows of The Frick Collection, with ELIE SAAB and IVANKA TRUMP Fine Jewelry present a gala 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at The Frick Collection on March 13, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by DAVID X PRUTTING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
BEDMINSTER, NJ - OCTOBER, 25: In this handout image provided by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump (R) and Jared Kushner (L) attend their wedding at Trump National Golf Club on October 25, 2009 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo Brian Marcus/Fred Marcus Photography via Getty Images)
�2010 RAMEY PHOTO August 19, 2010 - Porto Cervo - Sardinia Ivanka Trump,the daughter of Ivana and Donald Trump, is spending a few days on holiday with her husband Jared Kushner. CPE/MB (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jared Kushner, Owner of New York Observer and Kai Madison Trump attend the 4th annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 14, 2010 in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: Jared Kushner speaks at the FINCA 25th Anniversary Creating Pathways Out of Poverty event at Capitale Bowery on November 18, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for FINCA)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the COMEDY CENTRAL Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Vanity Fair Party during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
DORAL, FL - MARCH 07: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump attend the Carolina Herrera Fashion Show with GREY GOOSE Vodka at the Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral on March 7, 2014 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for GREY GOOSE)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Lara Yunaska and Jared Kushner attend The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are seen on March 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Tal Rubin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner attend the men's final between Novack Djokovic of Serbia and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at Arthur Ashe Stadium on day 14 of the 2016 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/GC Images)
Ivanka Trump (L) and husband Jared Kushner are seen at a polling station in a school during the 2016 presidential elections on November 8, 2016 in New York. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
(FromL) Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump smile as Republican presidential elect Donald Trump speaks during election night at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. Trump stunned America and the world Wednesday, riding a wave of populist resentment to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, walks through the lobby of Trump Tower with his wife Ivanka on November 18, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 7: Jared Kushner sits in Vice President-elect Mike Pence's car outside of Trump Tower, December 7, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (2nd L) smiles at his wife Ivanka Trump as she is mentioned by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his remarks at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner arrives to join U.S. President Donald Trump and the rest of the U.S. delegation to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on May 23, 2017. Donald Trump arrived in Rome for a high-profile meeting with Pope Francis in what was his first official trip to Europe since becoming US President. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Jared Kushner is seen at the Royal Court after US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - APRIL 03: In this handout provided by the Department of Defense (DoD), Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, speaks with Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander, Combined Joint Task Force -- Operation Inherent Resolve, during a helo ride aboard a CH-47 over Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (Photo by Dominique A. Pineiro/DoD via Getty Images)
QAYYARAH WEST, IRAQ - APRIL 04: In this handout provided by the Department of Defense (DoD), Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump meets with Service Members at a forward operating base near Qayyarah West in Iraq, April 4, 2017. (Photo by Dominique A. Pineiro/DoD via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: U.S. President Donald Trump (C) walks along the West Wing colonnade with his daughter Ivanka Trump (L) and his son-in-law and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Planning Jared Kushner before he departs the White House March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The first family is scheduled to spend the weekend at their Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor to the President, Jared Kushner (L), walks with his wife Ivanka Trump to board Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2017. The two are travelling with US President Donald Trump to Florida. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks while Jared Kushner, senior White House advisor, left, and Kenneth Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., listen during a meeting with manufacturing executives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Trump told some of America's most prominent corporate executives that he intends to put them to work restoring manufacturing jobs and U.S. dominance in trade. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, listens during a meeting with small business leaders in the Roosevelt room at the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner dance at the Liberty Ball at the Washington DC Convention Center following Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Ianka Trump (R), Jared Kushner, White House senior advisor to the president for strategic planning and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, and two of their children greet members of the armed forces and their families during an event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Vice President Mike Pence hosted about 160 spouses and children of the active duty U.S. military members. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Trump shook up his legal team on Thursday night, with some speculating that his lawyer Marc Kasowitz and legal spokesman Mark Corallo were ousted or shifted aside because they were uncomfortable with targeting Mueller.

Can Trump fire Mueller?

Constitutional law experts say Trump could order Mueller's dismissal. But he would not be able to fire him directly unless he ordered the repeal of the special-counsel regulations adopted in 1999, according to Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general, who helped draft the regulations.

But that would be an "extravagant" move, Katyal wrote in a Washington Post column in May. If Trump wanted Mueller gone, it is more likely he would order Rosenstein to fire him. And even that would be shocking.

"Either of those actions was unthinkable to us back in 1999, for we understood that President Richard Nixon's attempt in this regard ultimately led to his downfall," Katyal wrote. He was alluding to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in October 1973 after they refused to follow Nixon's orders to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating Watergate.

23 PHOTOS
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller
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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Former FBI director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey was officially sworn in as director of FBI on September 4 to succeed Mueller who had served as director for 12 years. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama applauds outgoing Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Robert Mueller (L) in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on June 21, 2013 as he nominates Jim Comey to be the next FBI director. Comey, a deputy attorney general under George W. Bush, would replace Mueller, who is stepping down from the agency he has led since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller applauds key staff members during a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW HEADSHOT)
391489 03: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during a conference as he stands with Justice Department veteran Robert Mueller, left, who he has nominated to head the FBI, and Attorney General John Ashcroft July 5, 2001 the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller stands for the national anthem during a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) reacts to a standing ovation from the audience, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (C) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) during Mueller's farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller gestures during his remarks at a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (R) and FBI Director Robert Mueller speak about possible terrorist threats against the United States, in Washington, May 26, 2004. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and FBI Director Robert Mueller make their way to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (C) delivers remarks at a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Also onstage with Mueller are Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (FROM L), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director George Tenet and TSA Administrator John Pistole. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: (L-R) Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton attend the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol May 15, 2013 in Washington, DC. Holder and other members of the Obama administration are being criticized over reports of the Internal Revenue Services' scrutiny of conservative organization's tax exemption requests and the subpoena of two months worth of Associated Press journalists' phone records. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. Mueller said on Thursday that the U.S. government is doing everything it can to hold confessed leaker Edward Snowden accountable for splashing surveillance secrets across the pages of newspapers worldwide. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (L) welcomes FBI Director Robert Mueller during their meeting in Kiev June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Efrem Lukatsky/Pool (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)
FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) arrives for the Obama presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington. President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. Woman at right is unidentified. REUTERS/Win McNamee-POOL (UNITED STATES)
WASHINGTON, : FBI Director Robert Mueller answers questions before Congress 17 October 2002 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller was testifying before the House and Senate Select Intelligence committees' final open hearing investigating events leading up to the September 11, 2001. AFP Photos/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
399994 02: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller visits the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller (L) stand during the National Anthem alongside Attorney General Eric Holder (R) and Deputy Attorney General James Cole (C) during a farewell ceremony in Mueller's honor at the Department of Justice on August 1, 2013. Mueller is retiring from the FBI after 12-years as Director. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
399994 01: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller greets American forces on the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: FBI Director Robert Mueller, center, talks with Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talk before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 06: OVERSIGHT HEARING ON COUNTERTERRORISM--Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, before the hearing. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
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Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who served in the Obama administration, said Thursday night that if Trump tries to "define or constrain" Mueller's investigation, it will create "issues of constitutional and criminal dimension."

Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman under President Barack Obama, said that he realized after Trump fired Comey that "we all need to expand our imagination about what [Trump] might do to stop this investigation."

"I think it's clear that he will not let this investigation run its natural course without interfering in some fashion, and that is going to provoke a massive crisis for his presidency and the country," Miller said. "These leaks are probably the product of a lot of things, but one of them is Trump testing the boundaries of what he can get away with."

Can Trump pardon himself?

But undermining or firing Mueller is not the only way Trump and his family could avoid legal troubles, if it came to that. Trump has reportedly been asking his legal team whether and how he could pardon himself — a legally ambiguous presidential power that, if invoked, would likely reach the Supreme Court — and his children.

"Can Trump pardon himself? There's no precedent for this," Louis Seidman, a constitutional law expert and professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, said in an email Friday. "Certainly as a matter of constitutional morality, it is very questionable."

Seidman noted that the real question is why Trump would even need to pardon himself given the protection from prosecution his office affords him and the unlikelihood that he would be charged after leaving office.

"The more serious threat is that Trump would either pardon everyone else or fire Mueller. My own sense, for what it's worth, is that this outcome is very likely," Seidman said. But firing Mueller or issuing pardons "would be certain to ignite the kind of political firestorm that we haven't seen since the Saturday Night Massacre," he said, and Trump's political opponents would undoubtedly paint it as obstruction of justice.

"At that point, spineless Republicans would have to decide whether they are really going to stick with Trump," Seidman said. "What they decide will determine whether we still live in a constitutional democracy."

Miller, the former DOJ spokesman, agreed.

"If Republicans in Congress don't speak out against firing Mueller or pardoning members of his team, the lesson he'll take away is that [Trump] can get away with it — and that means he will almost certainly try it sooner or later," he said.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement on Thursday that "pardoning any individuals who may have been involved" in Russia's election interference "would be crossing a fundamental line."

"The possibility that the President is considering pardons at this early stage in these ongoing investigations is extremely disturbing," Warner said.

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