Nevada’s Heller: Trump shouldn’t fire special counsel |

Nevada’s Heller: Trump shouldn’t fire special counsel

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office at the White House before signing a new law aimed at curbing six trafficking Wednesday in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP | AP

Asked for his response to word President Trump wants to fire Robert Mueller and shut down the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the election, Sen. Dean Heller said he would urge Trump not to do it.

“I would urge the president not to fire Mueller,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

At the same time, Heller, R-Nev., said the investigation needs to be wrapped up.

“I want him to be thorough but I want them to get this over with,” he said.

Asked whether he thinks Congress should pass legislation aimed at protecting the special counsel from firing, Heller said he doesn’t think that’s necessary.

“I disagree with most Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen so I don’t think there’s a need for legislation.”

Heller said he thinks Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement he won’t seek re-election and will leave the House in January has major implications on who controls the House of Representatives next year.

“I don’t think this bodes well for the House,” he said. “It puts more emphasis on the Senate moving forward.”

Heller said he’s proud of accomplishments including making sure there’s significant funding for the Veterans Administration in the Omnibus funding bill passed by Congress.

He said there’s $685 million for construction of veterans homes and other facilities. He said Nevada can apply for a share of that cash to pay for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home. Nevada put the money up front to build the home and is hoping the federal government will pay the state back.

He said that fact should weigh heavily in Nevada’s favor when it applies for the funding.

He said there’s another $160 million in grant funding the state can seek to help put up more fire-watch cameras in the Tahoe Basin. He said the existing cameras have proven invaluable in early detection of fires in the basin.

“When I was chairman of the (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) my biggest fear was having a lightning strike and having that basin burn up,” he said.

Heller, who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about plans to improve security of personal data in Facebook, said he expects there will be a couple of bills to tighten regulation of social media but he doesn’t support “heavy regulation of the Internet, which I consider one of the last bastions of freedom we have.”