Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Says There Is A ‘Culture Of Corruption’ Surrounding Trump

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Following revelations that Michael Cohen, the former lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, had lied to Congress previously about how long Trump had been in contact with agents from Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) suggested that the president remains surrounded by untrustworthy figures in the White House.

“There is a culture of corruption surrounding [Trump] and his administration,” Gillibrand tweeted out on Thursday morning. “It is absolutely critical for Congress to protect the Mueller investigation and ensure the American people get the answers and justice they deserve.”

Cohen pleaded guilty today to lying in Congressional testimony regarding Trump’s interactions with Russia. Previously he had said that Trump’s business negotiations with the Kremlin ended before the Iowa caucus race. In his plea today, Cohen said that wasn’t true, and that the Trump Organization had tried at least until June 2016 — very near the time Trump secured the Republican Party’s nomination for president — to get the tower deal finalized, according to reporting from Quartz.

Trump denied that allegation on Thursday, calling him a “liar,” per reports from ABC News. Cohen is “trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story,” Trump added.

Gillibrand’s comments on Trump are especially noteworthy, considering that she’s a likely contender to run for president herself in 2020. They’re also worth discussing due to her insistence that special counsel Robert Mueller be protected from potential termination by Trump or someone else acting on his orders in his administration.

Several members of the U.S. Senate, in fact, just yesterday tried to propose a vote on a bill that would do just that. Gillibrand and other members within the Democratic Party weren’t the only ones pushing for such a vote — Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) has also been promoting the idea that legislation get passed to ensure that, if Mueller is removed, it’s done in a way that is fair, not out of malice from the president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), however, has rejected the need for such a vote. “This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller,” McConnell said, according to reporting from NBC News.

A voice vote that would have allowed the full Senate chamber to vote on the bill failed in the chamber on Wednesday, as Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) blocked a unanimous consent call for the bill’s consideration.