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Grassley Hints at Supreme Court Vacancy in ‘a Few Months,’ Says Trump Firing Mueller Would Be ‘Suicide’

• April 10, 2018 10:27 am

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said Tuesday that firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be "suicide" for President Donald Trump, while hinting the Senate could soon be tasked with confirming a new Supreme Court justice.

The FBI raided the office of Trump's attorney Michael Cohen Monday, seizing documents related to a variety of activities, including his $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. Daniels has claimed she received the money as a hush payment for a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, which the White House has denied.

Trump lashed out against the raid on Cohen and the Mueller probe on Monday and Tuesday, telling reporters it was "disgraceful" and tweeting it was a "witch hunt." Asked about potentially firing Mueller, who was appointed to the probe by the Justice Department, Trump said "we'll see what happens."

He also vented against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose recusal from the Russia investigation Trump has long criticized.

In an interview on Fox Business, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sessions was doing a good job and Trump should not fire him either, while making a coy reference to there potentially being a Supreme Court vacancy in "a few months."

"We've got three Cabinet people to approve now," Grassley said. "We may even have a Supreme Court justice down the road a few months. The president shouldn't be overburdening Congress with finding a new Attorney General and going through that."

Regarding Mueller, Grassley said Trump "ought to have confidence" in him.

"I have confidence in Mueller," Grassley said. "The president ought to have confidence in Mueller, and to answer your question, it would be suicide for the president to talk about firing Mueller. The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be."

Grassley added Mueller's investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia looked like a "dead end" and the Democrats would appreciate getting a partisan talking point out of Trump dismissing the special counsel.

Shortly after the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, Grassley said he expected another justice to retire in the summer of 2017. That did not occur.

Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.) said last month he believed Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy would retire this summer.