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Breaking: Schumer to push back against Trump loyalists laying groundwork to sabotage Robert Mueller.

The Senate’s top Democrat will push back this afternoon against the president’s most loyal surrogates, who are seeking to undermine Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and possibly even laying the groundwork for his eventual firing.

In his prepared remarks on the Senate floor Monday, sent my way in advance of delivery, Senator Chuck Schumer will note that the very people now souring on Mueller were quick to sing his praises when he was first appointed.

It seems the new strategy by some on the right is to try to question the credibility of Special Counsel Mueller.

Already, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and others have said negative things about Mr. Mueller, just weeks after praising his selection.

They know that Mr. Mueller is the man now responsible for following up on Mr. Comey’s testimony, so the right is trying to discredit him in advance. They know they can’t debate the facts or the issues or defend the actions of the White House on the merits, so they attack the referee and try to besmirch the reputation of someone like Mr. Mueller.

This is a man of integrity who has devoted his career to his country. He came out of private life to do a job on behalf of his country and be right down the middle. Even Attorney General Jeff Sessions has praised Mr. Mueller for his service and credibility, saying his “integrity is undoubted” as is his “experience and love of country.”

And now, the political right has pulled out their partisan knives to try to defame his reputation.

It’s a shameful ploy. The right must be afraid of what Special Counsel Mueller going to find. I’d ask Speaker Gingrich: is he now afraid of what Mr. Mueller is going to find out? Is that why he’s attacking his reputation?

The baseless attacks on former Director Mueller ring hollow. Former Director Mueller has been hailed as the paragon of a public servant by folks of all political stripes. We should have every confidence that he will investigate the matters at hand with integrity and thoroughness.

It’s no surprise that Trump loyalists are trying to turn Mueller into a polarizing figure. The larger concern may be that Trump takes his cues from these loyalists and attemtps to depose Mueller. If that happens, it will be incumbent upon Republicans to join Democrats in imposing consequences. Schumer may be endeavoring here to draw attention to the smear campaign so that Republicans in Congress and at the White House feel pressure to affirm Mueller’s independence.