Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn is among the congressional leaders scheduled to dine with President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, but don’t expect the Texas Republican to urge the President to not fire high-ranking Justice Department officials or the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Regarding dinner with the President, the second ranking Republican senator told CNN that he doesn’t plan to bring up the possibility of Trump firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller, moves Cornyn has said he would oppose.
“I just don’t think it would be appropriate to talk about,” Cornyn told CNN on Capitol Hill earlier Wednesday, when asked if he would bring up Trump’s comments about possible firings at the meal.
Trump is scheduled to have dinner with Cornyn, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced earlier Wednesday that he would retire at the end of his term.
Trump and his aides have discussed firing Mueller for months, and the prevailing wisdom inside the administration is that the President has the authority to do so, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday. That same day, press secretary Sarah Sanders said publicly that Trump believes he has the power to fire Mueller.
Many Republicans in Congress have said that legislation to protect Mueller and his investigation is not necessary because they believe Trump wouldn’t dismiss him. A bipartisan group of senators have introduced such legislation and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has agreed to hold a vote in committee on the bill.
Cornyn, in his role as whip, said he didn’t know yet if he’d support holding a Senate floor vote on the legislation and that he wanted to read it.
“The biggest question I have is if it did pass, would the President sign it? I think it’s unlikely he would and, as I’ve said, I don’t think it’s necessary,” Cornyn said.
CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.