Rep. Eric Swalwell called acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker an "assassin" hired by President Donald Trump to "kill" special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"We're not going to allow the President to just, you know, kill this Russia investigation by hiring an assassin like Matt Whitaker to come in and take it out," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday when speaking about House Democrats' plans for investigations in the coming Congress.
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When pressed by Blitzer on what he meant by "assassin," Swalwell accused Whitaker of being hired because he has already come to a conclusion on the Mueller investigation.
"Whitaker was hired because of his views on the investigation. He's prejudged the investigation," the California Democrat said.
Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said one of his committees would ensure their first move is to protect Mueller with their new majority.
"First, we want to make sure that no one is above the law and so seek to protect Bob Mueller by insisting we have 'protect Mueller' legislation," he said.
Swalwell also hinted that members of his party could withhold their support on key votes such as passing a budget if Republicans try to stymie efforts to protect the special counsel.
"The Republicans have not been able to get a budget passed in the last two years with their own votes, despite controlling the House and the Senate," he said. "So if they want Democratic votes, we're saying they're going to need to ensure that the Mueller investigation is protected."
"If they want Democrats at the table to work with them, we think that the rule of law is paramount in our country and we're going to insist on that," he later added.