McConnell: Trump Is a 'Positive' for Republicans, But Should Allow Mueller to 'Complete' His Probe

Apr 3, 2018

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell speaks with WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis during a visit to Western Kentucky University Tuesday.
Credit Becca Schimmel, WKYU

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader is maintaining his position related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky visited Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University Monday, and sat down for an interview with WKU Public Radio.

McConnell hasn’t said much publicly about Mueller’s investigation. But the little he’s said has been consistent—that Mueller should be left free to do his job.

 

“I don’t think any of us believe that he should be removed,” the Louisville Republican said. “I think he’ll be allowed to complete the job, and then we’ll find out what he recommends.”

Speculation has swirled in some quarters about President Trump firing Mueller before his investigation is complete. McConnell’s fellow Senate Republican, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, went so far as to say that firing Muller would be “the beginning of the end” of the Trump presidency.

When asked if he’s told anyone in the Trump administration that Mueller should be left alone, McConnell said his public statements about the special counsel being allowed to finish his job serve as his advice to the White House.

Trump: Net Positive or Minus for the GOP?

Nationally, Democrats are hoping the controversies surrounding the Trump administration will fire up the party’s base and lead to big wins in this year’s midterm elections. Democrats point to recent special election wins in Alabama and Pennsylvania as evidence that many voters who voted for Trump in 2016 are having second thoughts.

McConnell said he’s confident Republicans will benefit from Trump this November.

Credit Becca Schimmel, WKYU

“Well, in places that we are competing in the Senate, the President’s still quite popular--places like Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia. So, regardless of the discussion of what the President’s overall approval rating is in the country, from a Senate perspective, in the places where we’re competitive, I think the President will be a positive, an asset.”

McConnell said he’s also not worried about his party choosing candidates in this year’s midterm primaries who are too right-wing to win the general election. He insisted Republicans will have Senate nominees who “will appeal to a general electorate in every single state.”

“Candidate recruitment has gone well,” McConnell said. “I don’t think we’re going to nominate any candidates in any of the states that are up in the Senate races in 2018 who couldn’t appeal to a broader audience in November and actually win the election.”

Check back Wednesday for the second part of our interview with McConnell, including his thoughts on whether President Trump should meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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