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Florida politicians react to Mueller indictments

via @learyreports

Florida lawmakers react to the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, which was joined by a guilty plea from Donald Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos for making false statements about contacts with Russian nationals.

Most Republicans did not return an email seeking reaction, though Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami said they had confidence in Robert Mueller to be fair.

Democrats said it shows the seriousness of the issues in play and said President Trump should not try to hinder Robert Mueller's investigation.

"If Mr. Trump fires Mueller, Congress should move quickly to ensure that the investigation continues unimpeded and consider impeachment charges," said Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

We'll add to this as reaction arrives.

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton

"The Mueller investigation must be allowed to continue independently, without obstruction from the Administration and entirely free from any political influence. The fact that people are even asking about the firing of Mueller reminds us why we need to renew the independent counsel law, so we can have someone the President cannot fire. Progress in the Mueller investigation reminds us that the House Judiciary Committee has so far failed to do its job and conduct its own investigation into obstruction of justice."

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach

"The interference with our 2016 elections by Russia is a serious attack on our democracy and national security. We must give Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller full range and freedom to investigate all possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and other related matters including perjury and obstruction of justice. … Firing Mueller would be a blatant attempt at obstructing justice. If Mr. Trump fires Mueller, Congress should move quickly to ensure that the investigation continues unimpeded and consider impeachment charges.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston

"The federal investigation led by Robert Mueller is incredibly important for our democracy and our nation. As the special counsel's criminal probe escalates, Congress must send a clear signal that we will not tolerate any interference by the President or his Administration."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

"After reading the guilty plea and indictments of Trump Campaign officials, it is more apparent than ever that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team must be given latitude to get to the bottom of the Trump Campaign coordination with Russia and Russian meddling in our elections.  It is illegal for a foreign country and its agents to make political contributions to U.S. candidates and it is dangerous for a U.S. political campaign to conspire with a malign foreign power.  Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort's 'pattern of illegal activity' and apparent money laundering are outrageous.  The guilty plea by a separate Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser for false statements relating to his 'Russia updates' raises many additional questions that the Special Counsel must pursue."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami

"Mr. Mueller has been entrusted with conducting an important investigation. I believe he will execute his job in a fair and impartial manner that will restore trust in our democratic institutions. The American people deserve no less."

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami (via spokeswoman)

"Since the announcement of Director Mueller's appointment, Congressman Curbelo has been supportive of the investigation. That has not changed and Congressman Curbelo believes Director Mueller should continue and finish his work."

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor

"I support investigative efforts as we work to ensure that our democratic process is protected from external interference, but it's important that we are not distracted from the important work at hand like tax reform. Rest assured though, that anyone who has violated the law should swiftly be brought to justice. To date, I have not seen proof that there was any wrongdoing by the President or collusion between his campaign and Russia."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times