Senate Committee Approves Bill to Protect Mueller's Firing

Every Democrat and four Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, in hopes of preventing Trump from interfering with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"Some have raised the question of why the committee plans on proceeding with the markup despite the fact that the majority leader has indicated that he will not take this bill up on the floor", Grassley said during a committee meeting.

"We should say loudly and clearly: if the President tries to deep-six the Special Counsel, the Senate will use all of its constitutional authority to ensure the investigation is sustained until completion", the Nebraska senator said.

The committee also defeated an amendment from Sen.

President Trump, for his part has made the point over and over that if he wanted to fire someone they would be gone, noting that he hasn't fired Mueller, while correctly preserving his prerogative to do so.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - the newest member of President Trump's Russia-probe-focused legal team - sat down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday, the Washington Post has learned.

Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) crossed the aisle with committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), while most of the Republicans on the committee voted against protecting Mueller. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who controls what bills come to the Senate floor, said this bill won't be scheduled.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, noted that Grassley has said publicly that "it would be suicidal" for Trump to fire Mueller.

Numerous committee's Republicans argued that the legislation would be unconstitutional, claiming that it would infringe on the executive branch's constitutional powers.

Under the bill, if special counsels are fired they can appeal the action to a federal court, which could overrule the dismissal for lacking good cause.

The revised amendment would require that notification after the investigation was done, along with a report detailing the investigation's findings and explanations of any charges.

It would also require the attorney general to provide written notice specifying the reason for removal and would allow the special counsel to challenge his or her removal within 10 days. "So that may be a place for us to land, because, as I have said, I think it would be a mistake" for Trump to fire Mueller. Short said he couldn't rule it out in the long term, though, because it's not known "how far off this investigation is going to veer".

Only one in four GOP voters, 26%, said they believe Mueller is conducting his investigation fairly, dropping from 36% over the same span.

Earlier Thursday, Trump told Fox News that although he wasn't interfering with the investigation that he reserved the right to do so.

  • Joey Payne