WASHINGTON — Leading Republicans urged President Trump Sunday not to fire the special counsel investigating his actions or the deputy attorney general who supervises the probe.
Retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan said special counsel Robert Mueller "should be left to do his job."
Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he sees no basis for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein despite Trump's ire about a new probe Rosenstein authorized of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
And Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said bipartisan legislation nearing a vote in the Senate would "send a very strong message that we do not want Mr. Mueller's investigation interfered with in any way."
Taken together, the Republican lawmakers' warnings represented the latest push-back against Trump's Twitter tirades, which the president resumed Sunday morning by attacking former FBI director James Comey.
Ryan, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," said "these career professionals should be left to do their jobs." But he said legislation designed to protect Mueller, which is slated to be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee soon, may not be needed.
"I don't think he's going to fire Mueller. I think it would be a huge mistake," Ryan said. "First of all, I don't think he should be fired.... And I don't think they're really contemplating this."
Ryan acknowledged that while he and Trump have agreed on issues, such as tax cuts and military defense, they "have different styles" when it comes to Trump making statements such as calling Comey a "slimeball."
"It's a big-tent party," Ryan said, "and we represent different corners of the tent."
Gowdy, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said Mueller had little choice but to refer matters involving Cohen to the U.S. attorney in Manhattan after coming across "potential criminality."
And Collins said on ABC's "This Week" that firing Mueller wouldn't help Trump, because "the investigation is still going to go on."
Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump, said the president's tweets and other attacks on the investigations works against him.
"Every single time the president makes clear that he doesn't like an investigation of him or his associates and wants that investigation to stop, that adds to the narrative that, when he takes action that actually can cause the investigation to stop, that was intentional and is potential obstruction," Bharara said on CNN's "State of the Union."