Blumenthal claps back at Trump

Trump called Blumenthal a "phony Vietnam con artist" Monday morning.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks to reporters looking for comment on the Senate Republican healthcare bill on his way to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks to reporters looking for comment on the Senate Republican healthcare bill on his way to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Trump’s tweets attacking Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Monday morning are further proof that legislation that would stop the president from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller is necessary, Blumenthal said Monday at a press conference.

“The special counsel and the president of the United States are on a collision course,” Blumenthal said Monday. “They are heading toward a constitutional confrontation that could lead to a crisis and it should be avoided. The best way to avoid it and maybe the only way is through legislation to protect the integrity and independence of the special counsel.”

The legislation, which Blumenthal introduced with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would require three judges to review any attempt by Trump to fire Mueller. The judges, if the legislation were signed into law, would determine whether Trump had just cause for firing the special counsel, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

“Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and … conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”

Blumenthal briefly responded to the president’s tweets on Twitter Monday morning.

Later Monday, the senator held a press conference to discuss his legislation, where he said the “rule of law is at stake.”

“This measure will be necessary, I fear, in light of the threats and intimidation that I see coming out of the White House these days,” Blumenthal said. “The special counsel legislation is all the more important in light of these bullying slurs… These tweets are part and parcel of the kinds of intimidation and threats that he has made against the special counsel and anyone who seeks to uncover the truth.”

A reporter at the press conference Monday asked if they were, in fact, slurs, as Blumenthal has admitted representing his service record. Before and while running for his Senate seat, Blumenthal talked about having served in Vietnam, but in 2010, a New York Times investigation revealed the senator had never served in Vietnam.

“He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records,” the Times story said. “In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.”

At his press conference Monday, Blumenthal said he was “going to let the elections speak for themselves.”

“They are slurs and I’m not going to be distracted or bullied by them,” the senator said of Trump’s tweets about him.

Blumenthal’s legislation to keep Trump from firing Mueller would, of course, have to get a seal of approval from Trump — or enought support to override a veto — in order to become law.