- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said Sunday he hopes the White House’s sparring with key figures at the FBI doesn’t turn into an attempt to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, calling it a “massive red line that can’t be crossed.”

Mr. Flake, a Republican and frequent critic of Mr. Trump, said he would expect GOP leaders to push back against attempts to undermine Mr. Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling into the 2016 campaign and its potential ties to the Trump campaign.

“He can’t go there,” Mr. Flake told CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr. Trump and his legal team adopted a combative pose over the weekend, saying the Mueller probe is a fishing expedition that should be shut down.

The president pointed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe as proof that federal investigators favored Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton and have been plotting against him.

The Justice Department inspector general said Mr. McCabe had misled investigators about his role in allowing FBI officials to speak to reporters at The Wall Street Journal about a corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Flake said he’s not sure what Mr. Trump’s grand design is, but he appeared to be inching toward Mr. Mueller.

“It seems to be building towards that. I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t,” Mr. Flake said.

Mr. Flake said he would expect GOP lawmakers who’ve been allies of Mr. Trump to warn the president off a confrontation with Mr. Mueller.

“We have confidence in Mueller. I certainly do,” Mr. Flake said.

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