Coons: “This is a time when all of us, Republicans and Democrats, need to stand up and make it clear that we are committed to the rule of law. After the statements by the President on Twitter this weekend, I think that every Republican senator should be on one of these two bills.”

Sen. Chris Coons joined CNN New Day this morning to discuss President Trump’s recent attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“It’s hard to know exactly what direction the President is taking. But you just played a number of senior Republican leaders in the House and the Senate saying obstruction of Mueller’s investigation would be a red line, would create a constitutional crisis, would show that we are not a country where we are committed to the rule of law,” said Coons.

“I think this is a time when all of us, Republicans and Democrats, need to stand up and make it clear that we are committed to the rule of law. And for the President or his lawyer to even in jest talk about firing Mueller or ending his investigation is unacceptable.”

On Mueller:

Well, sadly, this is typical of a pattern we’ve seen with President Trump where he initially makes very strong statements. Recently about his commitment to gun control, his commitment to immigration reform, and then within a day or two, either a spokesperson walks it back or he issues a retraction. It’s hard to know exactly what direction the President is taking. But you just played a number of senior Republican leaders in the House and the Senate saying obstruction of Mueller’s investigation would be a red line, would create a constitutional crisis, would show that we are not a country where we are committed to the rule of law.

There were other strong statements put out by Senator Lankford, Senator Rubio, Senator McCain. I think this is a time when all of us, Republicans and Democrats, need to stand up and make it clear that we are committed to the rule of law. And for the President or his lawyer to even in jest talk about firing Mueller or ending his investigation is unacceptable.

After the statements by the President on Twitter this weekend, I think that every Republican senator should be on one of these two bills. I think there is a consensus draft that we would like to move forward with.

But if Chairman Grassley means what he has said in a recent statement that the Mueller investigation should be allowed to go forward without interference, the best way to signal our determination from the Senate to ensure that rule of law and to protect this particular Special Counsel and future Special Counsels would be for senators of both parties to join these bills.

On McCabe and Mueller:

We don’t know all the facts yet. The timing of the firing is somewhat suspect. Very late on a Friday evening just a day before he would be able to get his full retirement benefits after 20 years with the FBI. But there is an Inspector General report, we don’t know the contents of it. And I think it’s important for us to put to rest any questions about whether Andrew McCabe’s firing was actually part of an obstruction of justice pattern.

On McCabe:

That’s part of our challenge here. It’s that with repeated attacks on the FBI at the most senior levels by our President we face a long-term degradation of the confidence in the rule of law in this country. The FBI has for decades now has enjoyed a very strong bipartisan reputation as being professional, nonpartisan, independent and I think that this current fact pattern where you’ve got the President going after senior leaders of the FBI publicly and repeatedly and senior leaders of the Department of Justice is undermining our confidence that this is an independent force that upholds the rule of law rather than supporting one party or another.

Part of that depends on how the senators conduct themselves. The Judiciary Committee has been able to work well together on a number of important issues in the past. I respect our Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, but I do think the way that our own investigation into obstruction on the Judiciary Committee has ground to a halt does raise those concerns.

On funding the government:

Well, as an appropriator I’m optimistic that we will wrap up this omnibus bill by the end of the week. That we will not have another short-term CR, but there are dozens of issues, so-called riders, that came over from the House that we have not been able to get agreement to clear. So, part of what has happened, Erica, because we’re not legislating as often as we should or as in bipartisan of a way we should, is that folks try and stick big policy moves into must pass appropriations bills. We need to clear these riders and move ahead and fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

On Facebook:

We need to know more about how Cambridge Analytica got access to 50 million Americans private information from Facebook and what role that played in targeting voter suppression or voter engagement efforts by the Trump campaign or potentially by Russia.