Senate Judiciary Committee approves Mueller protection bill

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Mueller protection bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from interference or firing by President Donald Trump, sending the bipartisan legislation to the full chamber.

While Republicans have said the legislation is not about Mueller's investigation, Trump's flirtation with firing the special counsel or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mueller, loomed over the hearing. Mueller and his team are now interested in interviewing Trump to determine whether the president engaged in obstruction of justice.

The bill passed 14-7 with four Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues to cast yes votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch 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.

Despite a strong show of support for the independence of special counsel Robert Mueller and a rare display of bipartisanship in a deeply divided Congress where members often vote along party lines, the bill is unlikely to become law.

The measure under consideration would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a firing and would put into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be fired for good cause.

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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.

Some lawmakers have suggested that Trump could face impeachment if he dismisses Mueller. Trump has said there was no collusion and repeatedly denounced the probe as 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". And it remains my view that I don't think he's going to be removed from this office. "I may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace".

The seven Republicans are: Sens. In the final version, lawmakers would be notified only when the special counsel commences and finishes an investigation, or - in the event a special counsel is terminated - 30 days before the special counsel is given notice. Grassley, Graham, Tillis and Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ) and Chuck Grassley (IA).

In opposing the bill, Utah GOP Sens.

"It's important that we not overstep our constitutional authority", Hatch said. The bill would ensure that the special counsel's staff and investigative materials would be preserved in the interim. "It's about the rule of law", Graham said Thursday.

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