Judicial Committee Votes to Protect Special Counselor Mueller From Presidential Interference


Chuck Grassley official portrait

As President Trump continues to hint that he is considering interfering with the Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Senate Republicans are pushing back against such interference. Pushback against Trump threats came in the form of a 14-7 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve legislation that will make it even more difficult for the president to fire Mueller.

All Democrats on the committee voted for the so-called “Mueller Protection” legislation, with four Republicans joining them: Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. The vote came on Thursday in the wake of a statement by Trump saying that he might try an play a “more direct” role in the Department of Justice probe.

The legislation gives any special counsel up to ten days after being fired to challenge the ouster in court. The bill was the product of lengthy discussions and negotiations. Before the vote was taken, Senator Grassley said that he still had constitutional concerns about the legislative branch interfering with decisions made by the executive branch of government. Despite his reservations he voted for the bill saying, “I believe this bill should be considered by the full Senate.”

The top Democrat on the committee, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, said the revised Grassley plan was “a compromise way to ensure appropriate congressional oversight while also inoculating the special counsel” from any inappropriate presidential interference.

Some Republicans continue to insist that Trump will not fire Mueller, while others say the bill is a waste of effort since Trump will veto any such bill that might come to his desk. Fellow Republican have harshly criticized Senator Grassley for pushing for such legislation when its chances of passing are so slim. But Grassley held firm to his choice stating that “you’ve just got to do your job and let the chips fall where they may.”

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)leftjustified.com.

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