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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is warning President Donald Trump against firing special counsel Robert Mueller or pardoning any targets of the federal probe into Russia and the president's Republican campaign.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday that growing criticism of Mueller's probe pointed to an effort to lay the groundwork for Mueller's removal or other interference in the federal investigation. Warner says any attempt to remove Mueller would provoke a "constitutional crisis."

"Firing Mr. Mueller or any other of the top brass of this investigation would not only question this administration's commitment to the truth, but also to our most basic concept: Rule of law," Warner said on the Senate floor.

"It also has the potential to provoke a constitutional crisis. In the United States, no one, no one is above the law. Not even the president," he added.

Trump said recently that he would not try to push Mueller out, and a White House lawyer has repeatedly said the president is not considering any pardons.

Trump cannot directly fire Mueller, but critics say he could demand that top Justice Department officials fire Mueller and then remove them if they don't follow through.

Marianna Sotomayor contributed.