Sen. Blumenthal on Trump obstruction bombshell: 'We have a constitutional crisis looming'


Trump has created a crisis for this nation, and Congress must act immediately before it gets any worse.

While Donald Trump is insisting to other world leaders what a fantastic success he's had as president thus far, a crisis is looming at home.

That's according to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who has been arguing for months that Congress must affirmatively act to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, in case Trump tries to fire him.

That concern is no longer hypothetical, as the New York Times reported Thursday night that Trump did indeed try to fire Mueller within a month of his appointment last year, and the only thing that stopped him was his own attorney's threat to quit.

"We have, now, a constitutional crisis looming," Blumenthal told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "and that's the reason why we need to protect the special counsel with legislation that I've offered, along with a number of Republican colleagues, and Democrats, to make sure that the special counsel is protected in this investigation."

Why, Maddow asked, is this more than "just a fight" but an actual constitutional crisis?

Blumenthal laid it out very clearly.

"It would be a constitutional crisis because it would involve the president exceeding his authority under the Constitution, violating statutes, and potentially confronting Congress, which would hold him accountable to obey the law."

Further, Blumenthal said, such a confrontation could look very much like the one that led to Richard Nixon's disgraceful resignation.

"That kind of confrontation may be in our future as well," he warned.

Blumenthal sits on the Judiciary Committee, one of several congressional committees investigating Trump, his campaign, his possible collusion with Russia, and his obstruction of those investigations.

Earlier this week, in fact, Blumenthal was warning about "even more powerful evidence of obstruction of justice" when it was reported that the same week Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he asked then-acting Director Andrew McCabe  how he had voted in an apparent attempt to determine whether McCabe might be more sympathetic to Trump's efforts to shut down investigations.

It is because of these concerns that Blumenthal and others have been calling for legislation to stop Trump from firing Mueller or anyone else involved in investigating Trump. These concerns, we now know, are absolutely warranted.

So why isn't such protection in place?

Because the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is protecting Trump.

"I don’t hear much pressure to pass anything,” McConnell said in November. "There’s been no indication that the president or the White House are not cooperating with the special counsel."

Not only was their an indication — there was a plan to do exactly that.

The time for Congress to act to protect Mueller and all of the ongoing investigations was months ago, when Trump and Republicans first launched a smear campaign against Mueller, but now it is of the utmost urgency. We are, as Blumenthal said, in a crisis, and it is up to the party in power to finally put country before party and protect our democracy.