Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Bill To Protect Mueller Investigation Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

Bill To Protect Mueller Investigation Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman is likely to preside over a Thursday vote on a bipartisan bill that attempts to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump without cause despite the landmines that abound. It also would give any special counsel ten days after a termination to challenge the move in court - and would preserve staffers, documents and materials of an investigation.

Although legal experts say only Rosenstein can fire Mueller, because the Trump administration has publicly disagreed, a bipartisan team of senators responded by introducing the bill that advanced Thursday. Orrin Hatch, reading from prepared remarks during a hearing before Senate Judiciary Committee. 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.

McConnell, R-Ky., has argued that Trump won't move to fire Mueller and has insisted he will not hold a full Senate vote on the legislation.

Bill To Protect Mueller Investigation Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee
Bill To Protect Mueller Investigation Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

The committee voted against another amendment, proposed by Sen.

The resolution stated the feeling among several Republicans on the panel that the bill was unconstitutional - stating that it would "weaken the separation of powers in the name of political expediency" - while stating that Mueller "should be permitted to finish his work in a timely fashion".

In effect, if a court determines the special counsel wasn't fired for "good cause", they would be reinstated. Trump has repeatedly dubbed the probe a "witch hunt". "I've taken the position - and I don't have to take this position and maybe I'll change - that I will not be involved with the justice department". Jeff Flake, from Arizona, voting with GOP Sens. Dianne Feinstein, threatened earlier this week to oppose the bill if there were not changes. That included negotiating with Grassley, who floated an amendment that included increased reporting to Congress by the special counsel.

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If Republicans support the bill, some may be at risk of angering Trump and some of his supporters they represent.

With most Democrats on board, the bipartisan group had worked this week to gather additional Republican votes.

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.

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Democrats said they were alarmed at an initial draft of Grassley's amendment - which would have required the attorney general to report to Congress about changes to the special counsel's scope - would open up the investigation to potential political interference.

"It's important that we not overstep our constitutional authority", Hatch said. "It's because it would empower the creation of unaccountable federal prosecutors who could not be fired for acting unjustly or unwisely", he wrote in an op-ed in USA Today. But White House legislative director Marc Short said last weekend that he couldn't rule it out in the long term because it's not known "how far off this investigation is going to veer".

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