How California Republicans are responding to Trump’s attacks on Mueller and to McCabe’s firing

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) speaks at the Capitol.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

President Trump’s new attacks over the weekend against the man leading the Russia probe put renewed pressure on California House Republicans already facing a tough reelection campaign.

Trump repeated his characterization of the investigation as a “witch hunt” and for the first time criticized by name Robert S. Mueller III, the former FBI head who is leading the probe into Russia’s election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Trump also celebrated the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose notes about his interactions with Trump could be helpful to Mueller’s probe. The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended McCabe be fired over allegations that he authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and misled investigators when asked about it.


Both developments put California Republicans in a difficult spot as many struggle to keep their seats in districts won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and others work to keep from alienating Trump supporters.

So far most have remained silent, but here are the responses of some to questions about whether they thought McCabe’s firing was appropriate and whether Congress should — as Democrats believe — pass legislation to protect Mueller from being fired, particularly as Trump and his attorneys increase their calls for the probe to be ended.

Twitter: @sarahdwire

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2 p.m, March 20: This article was updated with comment from Rep. Mimi Walters.

5:40 p.m.: This article was updated with comment from Rep. Doug LaMalfa.

This article was originally published at 4:30 p.m., March 19.