Republican senators warn Trump not to fire Special Counsel Mueller

WASHINGTON: Republican senators warned US President Donald Trump not to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and said the President must let federal investigators looking into Russian meddling in the US election do their jobs.

Mr Trump has renewed his Twitter attacks on both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr Mueller's probe since the firing last Friday of the bureau's deputy director Andrew McCabe, two days before he was eligible to retire with a full pension.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has criticised Mr Trump harshly, said the President's latest comments appeared to be aimed at the firing of Mr Mueller.

Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican, said if Mr Trump were to dismiss Mr Mueller, it would mark "the beginning of the end of his presidency".

Ms AshLee Strong, a spokesman for Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said: "As the Speaker has always said, Mr Mueller and his team should be able to do their job."

In an effort to tamp down the chatter, White House lawyer Ty Cobb issued a statement on Sunday saying Mr Trump was not weighing Mr Mueller's removal.

The Republican comments underscored the risks for Mr Trump if he goes too far to thwart the federal probe.

"I don't know what the designs are on Mr Mueller, but it seems to be building towards that (firing him), and I just hope it does not go there, because it can't. We cannot in Congress accept that," Mr Flake told CNN's State Of The Union.

"So I would expect to see considerable pushback in the next couple of days urging the President not to go there."

Mr Graham, co-author of legislation that would make it harder for a president to fire a special counsel, said it was important that Mr Mueller be allowed to proceed without interference and that many Republicans share this view.

"The only reason Mr Mueller could ever be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr Mueller," Mr Graham said on CNN. - REUTERS