Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, speaks at a news conference at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. (AP file photo)

One of Maine’s members of Congress on Friday called President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful effort to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller “Nixonian.”

In the wake of a New York Times story Friday that reported Trump sought to fire Mueller, who is investigating alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, both of Maine’s members of Congress said the investigation should proceed.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, the 1st District Democrat who termed the president’s move Nixonian, said in a statement on Twitter that if Trump “thinks he can fire Mueller without consequence, this investigation will always face political interference.”

President Richard Nixon came under fire in 1973 after he ordered aides to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. In what came to be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” Cox was fired after two top officials resigned rather than carry out the order.

Cox’s replacement continued the investigation. Nixon resigned in 1974 rather than face impeachment by the House.

The Times story said Trump ordered Mueller’s firing months ago but pulled back after White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II “refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel” and declared he would quit if the president forced his hand.


Trump, who called the story “fake news,” has made clear that he doesn’t think there is anything worth investigating about possible Russian collusion, but Mueller’s probe is continuing.

“Americans deserve the truth,” Pingree said, adding that she called for “a bipartisan, independent commission to look into” alleged ties between Trump and Russia.

A statement from U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a 2nd District Republican, said there are three separate probes looking into the issue, “one in the House, one in the Senate and one by a specially appointed counsel.”

His office said that Poliquin “will thoroughly review any findings and conclusions.”

In addition, it said, “the Congressman trusts the American justice system will continue its impartial investigation to its end.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, told reporters at Bath Iron Works on Friday that he did not want to comment on the Times story until its information is verified.


U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

[On Saturday, Collins said, “It is important to note that the president does not have the authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That authority belongs solely to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Mr. Mueller is protected by a good cause standard.”

“Last June at a hearing,” she said, “I raised this important issue with Deputy AG Rosenstein. He emphasized that he would not follow any unlawful order, that there would have to be good cause in order to fire Mr. Mueller, and that he would have to put any such justification in writing. He clearly is committed to protecting the investigation.”

Collins also pointed out the Times story mentions “an exchange that happened seven months ago, during which the White House counsel clearly advised the president that he could not fire the special counsel and that it would be a grave mistake to do so.”

“Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation has proceeded unencumbered as it should. It would be a consequential mistake if the president ordered” Rosenstein to fire Mueller, she said, “but there is no indication that he is going to do so. He listened to the White House Counsel. Both the White House counsel and Mr. Mueller remain in their jobs.”]

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