US Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Protect Mueller

Senate Judiciary Committee votes to bar Trump from firing Mueller

The Senate Judiciary Committee fired a political warning shot at the White House on Thursday, advancing on a bipartisan vote long-stalled legislation to allow special counsels such as Robert S. Mueller III to appeal their firing to a panel of judges and possibly be reinstated.

The 14-7 vote in favor of the bill was divided mostly on party lines, with the Democrats voting yes and the Republicans voting no.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is right to draw a line in the sand to protect Special Counsel Mueller's Russian Federation investigation", she declared, "and now Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must put his country before his party and allow the full Senate to pass this bipartisan legislation".

"I hope that Senator McConnell will listen to the growing crescendo of voices on both sides of the aisle calling for this legislation and bring it to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible", Booker said in a statement. "Because special counsel investigations only occur where there is a conflict of interest within the executive branch, special counsel investigations are usually matters of great national concern", Grassley said, according to USA Today.

Mueller is investigating allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and damage his Democrat opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump has repeatedly dubbed the probe a "witch hunt". They were joined by four Republicans: Sens.

Senator Grassley countered that he thinks the full Senate should weigh in on the bill.

The committee considered amendments to the bill on Thursday morning, including one from Grassley that the panel unanimously adopted that would require the special counsel to submit a final report to Congress about the investigation's findings and decisions to or to not prosecute, as well as any changes in the special counsel's jurisdiction.

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The legislation, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, was introduced this month by two Republicans, Sens.

"I don't think he should fire Mueller, and I don't think he's going to, so this is a piece of legislation that's not necessary, in my judgment", McConnell told Fox News last week. If dismissed, a special counsel could file for judicial review within 10 days of his or her firing.

The requirement that the judiciary committee leaders be notified in advance of such maneuvers is to give Congress some opportunity to take recourse - including potential impeachment - to prevent a special counsel from being terminated without cause.

For now, the move is largely symbolic, given McConnell's opposition, but it shows the complexity of Republican support for Trump when it comes to the president's attacks on Mueller.

A Quinnipiac University poll, conducted from April 20-24, found 74 percent of respondents believe Trump should not order the removal of the special counsel.

Many Republicans argue that it is unconstitutional or unnecessary.

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