Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Protect Special Counsel Mueller

Senate Judiciary Committee votes to bar Trump from firing Mueller

Senate panel on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired without cause, in a bipartisan show of support for the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, will bring the bill to the Senate floor for a full vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14-7 in favor of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (s. 2644), but it remains unclear whether the legislation will advance to the Senate floor for a vote.

The special counsel bill was authored by four senators - Democrats Chris Coons of DE and Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republicans Tillis and Graham - and was finalized earlier this month amid rising concerns from Democrats that Trump might try to fire Mueller.

The committee rejected in a bipartisan 16-5 vote an alternative measure offered by Sen.

That requirement is meant to give Congress some opportunity to take recourse - including potential impeachment - to prevent a special counsel from being terminated without cause.

The committee's top Democrat, Sen.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, another co-sponsor of the bill, added that "tThe public will be well served to have judicial checks and balances" and a judicial review of the special counsel's firing.

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The bill is sponsored by Sens.

"I know that sometimes it's hard to compromise, but you did that, and this is better because of that", she told Grassley. "Everybody went to work and worked it out".

Grassley said role of the Congress is to "effectively check the other branches" and that the bill fulfills that responsibility. "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". The special counsel would have the ability to appeal the dismissal.

The Grassley amendment would also require notification if a special counsel were removed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY urged McConnell to bring the bill for a vote and pointed to a statement Thursday by Trump on Fox and Friends. Cornyn has repeatedly said that such legislation isn't necessary because he doesn't believe Trump would fire Mueller, calling such a move a "bad mistake" that could cause "all sorts of unintended consequences".

"Firing Mueller would create a firestorm, and may even lead to impeachment", said Utah GOP Sen. They were joined by four Republicans: Sens.

Cruz has expressed concerns about an overreaching special counsel investigation. A handful of Republicans have supported it, but most have opposed it, arguing that it is unconstitutional or unnecessary.

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