Republicans reluctant to chastise Trump on Mueller

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., strongly disagreed with Cornyn, saying that this episode is the appropriate time to wage a fight.

“If we don’t fight this, we might as well not be here,” Flake said. “This is a serious one. This is a fight that you have to pick you can’t avoid. And the best thing would be is preemptively convince the president ‘don’t go there.’”

Some Republicans say the legislation might not be constitutional and wouldn’t withstand court cases, but Republicans appeared to try to be speaking to the president through the media instead of threatening him with legislative oversight.

Most Democrats, meanwhile, are supportive of trying to limit any potential effort by the president to derail the probe.

“I’m urging my colleagues to take this seriously because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Coons said.

Coons acknowledged, however, that legislation might not feasible without Republicans on board.

Instead, he said it’s going to be important to inform the president of “what the consequences would be and how seriously we would take that.”

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said the investigation should be protected in the must-pass spending bill, known as the omnibus, that’s in the final stages of being crafted and must be passed before the end of the week if the government is to stay open.

“I don’t believe Republicans will do what’s necessary to prevent Mueller from being fired, and if he is fired, hold the president accountable. A year ago I would have believed otherwise. But, you know, actions speak louder than words,” Swalwell said.

But multiple sources said the spending bill won’t include any legislation protecting Mueller.