Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday President Trump would trigger a “constitutional crisis” if he fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a pretext to ending the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
Durbin accused House Republicans of acting to protect Trump from potential vulnerability in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe by releasing a classified GOP-written memo that accuses the FBI and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers in investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I'll just tell you, this could precipitate a constitutional crisis,” said Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranked Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If the House Republicans believe they've set the stage for this president to end this investigation they are basically saying that in America one man is above the law and that's not a fact.”
Trump on Saturday said the contents of the memo, which he authorized House Republicans to release, “totally vindicates” him in the Russia probe.
The White House has said Trump does not plan to fire Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s investigation.
But Durbin said Republicans aimed to protect Trump by releasing the memo.
The memo alleges the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
House Democrats are eager to release their own memo they say would provide more context and tell a different story. The Democratic memo has been made available to all members of the House, but it has not yet been made public, which Republicans say is the proper process to go through.
“The fact that the Republicans in the House refused to allow a minority report, the Democratic response to their memo, is an indication that they're just bound and determined to continue to find ways to absolve this president from any responsibility,” Durbin said. “We ought to be trying to focus on an investigation in a professional level by Bob Mueller and not trying to find a way to obstruct justice or to absolve this president from any responsibility he has.”