The US inquiry into alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 election could be under threat after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, top opposition Democrats say.
Nancy Pelosi, who leads Democrats in the House of Representatives, called the decision a “blatant attempt” to end or impede the investigation.
The probe has been criticised by Mr Sessions’s successor Matthew Whitaker.
The Democrats, who won the House in the mid-terms, have vowed to protect it.
Some Republicans appear to have shared the Democrats’ concern over the future of the inquiry, which is being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said it should not be impeded in any way.
Mr Mueller is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, resulting in a series of criminal charges against several Trump associates.