The long-debated necessity of protecting special counsel Robert Mueller from the ire of President Trump still hangs over the Senate. Now, some prominent Republican Senators agree that it’s time for a vote.
The crux of the debate is the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which passed the Judiciary Committee back in April with a 14-7 vote. If passed, the bill mandates that the special counsel can only be fired for good cause by a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official.
Furthermore, a judge would have 10 days to decide on whether the firing fell under criteria that met “good cause” and could prevent the firing if necessary.
In other words, the bill prevents President Trump from firing Mueller on baseless accusations of the investigation being a “witch hunt.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday that he believes the bill should get a Senate vote. This marks a split between the prominent Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Ky, who stopped the bill from being brought to the floor just one day before.
“It’s legitimate that the bill be brought up,” said Grassley. “It would satisfy me if it became law because I voted for it.”
Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., attempted to bring the bill to the Senate floor on Wednesday when they were blocked by McConnell.
“There’s been no indication … that Mueller’s investigation will not be allowed to finish and it should be allowed to finish,” McConnell said. “We know how this president feels about the Mueller investigation but he’s never said he wants to shut it down.”
As a response to the block, Flake vowed to boycott any GOP judicial nominees until a vote has been made. The Arizona Senator accused Mitch McConnell of blocking to bill simply to avoid angering President Trump.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller investigation, calling it a “witch hunt” and claiming that it was comprised of “angry Democrats.” Recently he amped up his criticisms of Mueller personally, saying that the special counsel was “protecting Crooked Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page & her lover, Peter S, and all of his friends on the other side.”
Robert Mueller is a lifelong Republican who was appointed by George W. Bush as FBI director in 2001, and after his retirement was appointed by Rod Rosenstein as special counsel in 2017.