- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2018

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley on Friday urged the White House to let special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election-meddling “work its course,” amid reports that President Trump seriously considered firing Mr. Mueller last summer.

Speaking to CNN, the powerful Iowa Republican said he did not believe Mr. Trump was actually going to dismiss Mr. Mueller and added that he remained open to to bipartisan legislation aimed at further insulating the special counsel form the White House.

“I just don’t think the president — as unpredictable as he is — would fire Mueller, and I take the view, and I said so maybe not directly to the president, but indirectly to the president: Just let this work its course,” Mr. Grassley said.

SEE ALSO: Trump calls report he ordered Mueller’s firing ‘fake news’

The New York Times reported Thursday that Mr. Trump ordered the firing of Mr. Mueller in June but backed down after White House lawyer Don McGahn threatened to resign.

While attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Mr. Trump dismissed the report.

“Fake news, folks. Fake news. Typical New York Times fake stories,” the president told reporters.

Later Friday, House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi characterized the reported move to fire Mr. Mueller as “a grave pattern of attempts by the president to undermine and obstruct the ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in our elections.”

“Equally stunning is the GOP Congress’ complicity in the White House’s interference in these investigations,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement from her office.

Two competing bills currently on Capitol Hill intend to shield Mr. Mueller and future special counsels from White House political pressure.

Mr. Grassley has vowed to consider the bills but warned they could raise constitutional concerns regarding the separation of powers.

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