Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Protect Special Counsel Mueller

27 April, 2018, 00:54 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 12:25 am EDT

John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among Republicans who opposed to a move Thursday to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.

With those changes, all of the Democrats on the committee joined Grassley and several other Republicans to advance the bill on a 14-to-7 vote. Chris Coons, D-Del., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Graham and Tillis, and would codify Department of Justice regulations that say only a senior DOJ official can fire Mueller or another special counsel, according to The Hill. Republicans, such as Tillis and Graham, have argued that their support for the bill isn't necessarily tied to Mueller; rather, they want to protect any and all future special counsels. The designation, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by The Associated Press, has raised questions about what legal threat Trump personally faces from the special counsel and whether it has any impact on his decision to sit for an interview with prosecutors. The bill would ensure that the special counsel's staff and investigative materials would be preserved in the interim.

"The American people must know the truth, and this bill should now be brought before the full Senate for debate and a vote", Senator Dianne Feinstein said. That included negotiating with Grassley, who floated an amendment that included increased reporting to Congress by the special counsel. A previous version of that amendment almost derailed committee passage of the bill, but Grassley was able to come to a compromise with Democrats to win their support.

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Grassley said he still harbors some concerns that the underlying legislation is unconstitutional, because the President controls the Executive Branch, but that he felt his amendment made the bill better.

"I don't think he should fire Mueller, and I don't think he's going to, so this is a piece of legislation that's not necessary, in my judgment", McConnell told Fox News last week.

Even senators who voted against the legislation warned Mr. Trump against trying to dismiss Mr. Mueller. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, that would have essentially gutted the bill and replaced it with a symbolic show of support for Mueller's work. In the final version, lawmakers will only be notified when the special counsel commences and finishes an investigation, or - in the event a special counsel is terminated - 30 days before the special counsel is given notice.

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