- Thomson Reuters
- Chuck Schumer warned Trump on Monday that if he attempted to intervene in the Mueller probe following Manafort and Gates’s indictment, congress would be forced to take “swift” action. Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also released a statement saying that “issuing pardons to any of [Trump’s] associates or to himself would be unacceptable” and result in bipartisan action from Congress. Trump previously fired James Comey, who had then been leading the Russia investigation, as FBI director.
After a grand jury indicted President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Robert Gates on Monday morning, Senate Democrats issued statements urging the president to avoid interfering in the investigation, warning that Congress would respond swiftly if he does.
“The President must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “If he does so, Congress must respond switfly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues.”
Schumer predicated his warning to Trump by focusing on the importance of the rule of law.
“The rule of law is paramount in America and the investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded,” he said.
Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also released a statement on Monday warning of bipartisan congressional action if Trump interferes in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference.
Warner said the indictments of Manafort and Gates are a “a significant and sobering step” in Mueller’s investigation.
“That is why it is imperative that Congress take action now to protect the independence of the Special Counsel, wherever or however high his investigation may lead,” Warner said in the statement.
“Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, must also make clear to the President that issuing pardons to any of his associates or to himself would be unacceptable, and result in immediate, bipartisan action by Congress.”
Manafort and Gates were charged on Monday with tax fraud and alleged crimes related to their work for the Ukrainian ruling party before the 2014 revolution that ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych.
Trump previously fired James Comey as FBI director in May, which lead directly to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation.