Huckabee Sanders and John McCain Respond to Bannon's Push to Defund the Mueller Investigation

President Donald Trump is not considering trying to defund the investigation into the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert Mueller, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday, a step that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has advocated.

On the contrary, Sanders said the probe, tasked in part with investigating whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, has bolstered the White House’s position.

“I'm not sure what we’d push back against since so far all they’ve done is come up with ways and shown more and more that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and collusion with Russia,” Sanders said.

Defunding the special counsel’s investigation would offer Trump an avenue to diffuse it without firing Mueller. Trump has regularly characterized Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt” fueled by Democrats eager for an excuse to explain away their surprise defeat in last year’s election.

Three Republican senators told TPM on Tuesday that they oppose calls from former White House adviser Steve Bannon to defund Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and administration and the Russian government. Because Republicans only have a 52-seat majority in the Senate, those three would be enough to block such a bill from passage if it ever came to the Senate floor.

An amendment has already been introduced in the House that would completely defund Mueller’s work after six months, and limit the scope of what he can investigate, but several senators said they would vote against such a measure if it made its way to the upper chamber.

“I would oppose, and so would the American people,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Tuesday. “The American people want a complete and thorough investigation. That’s one thing I know.”