The Republican drumbeat to shut down the Russia investigation is completely out of control.
Donald Trump's allies on Capitol Hill are feeling the heat of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and they are ramping up dangerously phrased rhetoric pushing for his removal.
In the wake of criminal indictments and guilty please stemming from Mueller's probe of Trump's interactions with Russia and attempts to obstruct related investigations, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) appeared on CNN to echo Trump and attack Mueller with baseless Fox News conspiracy theories.
The demand does not come out of nowhere. Just days before his outburst, Gaetz huddled with Trump onboard Air Force One. Gaetz also previously teamed with other House Republicans in an attempt to quash the Mueller probe.
Describing the investigation, Gaetz told CNN's Chris Cuomo, "These are actions that people are taking to undermine the duly elected president and to undermine the democracy in our country," adding, "I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of Bob Mueller."
GAETZ: These are actions that people are taking to undermine the duly elected president and to undermine the democracy in our country, and the elected representatives of the people – the Congress – have an obligation to expose this bias, to expose what I believe is a corrupt investigation, and I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of Bob Mueller and look, it's time for Mueller to put up or shut up. If there's evidence of collusion with Russia, let's see it. But we're almost a year into this thing, millions of dollars have been spent.
Cuomo then pointed out to Gaetz that his contention that the Mueller investigation is taking up too much time is absurd. The CNN host pointed out that historically, special counsel investigations have taken years, not months, to conclude.
For historical perspective, Ken Starr was appointed to investigate President Bill Clinton in August of 1994 and did not conclude his probe until 1999.
In the course of his tirade, Gaetz pushed the debunked narrative that one of Mueller's investigators, FBI agent Peter Strzok, harbored anti-Trump bias. But the agent also slammed Democrats like Chelsea Clinton and Eric Holder, and was immediately removed by Mueller.
Mueller has already gotten convictions against two Trump confidantes, most notably his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. He has also secured indictments against Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort, along with another campaign staffer.
Gaetz is part of a vocal group of Republicans in Congress who are doing what they can to sabotage and discredit the Mueller investigation, even as Americans believe Trump did something wrong and that it needs to be investigated.
Rather than stand for the rule of law and the sanctity of American institutions like the presidency, Republicans have again chosen to protect their party over their country.