Senate Judiciary Committee Votes To Protect Robert Mueller – But McConnell Won’t Allow Full Senate Vote
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to bring legislation that checks any president’s ability to fire a special counsel to the Senate floor on Thursday.
The bipartisan bill, created by Republicans Lindsay Graham and Thom Tillis along with Democrats Christopher Coons and Cory Booker, allows a special counsel to challenge a dismissal from the attorney general or other senior Justice Department official in Washington D.C.’s U.S. District Court. All of the special counsel’s documents relating to the investigation would be protected during the time of limbo as well.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC he wouldn’t bring the legislation to the Senate floor for a full chamber vote.
Four Republicans and all 10 Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee were in favor of the legislation that yielded a 14-7 vote in committee. During a hearing, Graham said that the legislation wasn’t necessarily about special counsel Robert Mueller or President Donald Trump themselves, but about the rule of law.
“It’s about a system for today, tomorrow, and forever, that makes sure that nobody — even the President — is above scrutiny,” Graham said.
The bill was drafted to avoid a piece of legislation Republican Chuck Grassley was working on that would force a special counsel to alert Congress every time the scope of an investigation was changed. Grassley and the bipartisan four-person team compromised to create a provision that required Congress to be given a report at the end of an investigation by a special counsel.
Booker advocated for the legislation in a series of tweets.
“Today’s vote on my bipartisan Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act sends an unmistakable message that President Trump must not interfere with the special counsel’s investigation,” Booker tweeted yesterday. “This bill is about checks and balances. It will place a common-sense check on executive authority and enable this special counsel and future special counsels to follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
He also called for a full chamber vote on the bill.
“I hope its passage through the Judiciary Committee serves as a clear sign that protecting the special counsel and America’s democracy is of the utmost importance,” Booker wrote. “I’m now calling for Senator McConnell to bring the bipartisan Special Counsel Independence Protection Act to the floor ASAP. We must put our democracy first.”