Senate panel tees up a Mueller protection bill despite headwinds

Lucy Bush
April 22, 2018

"The president keeps slamming Mueller, and I think that politically just doesn't play well, even with folks I know who are part of the president's base".

McConnell told Fox News Neil Patrick Cavuto that he won't allow a bill to protect Mueller.

Grassley previously told sponsors of two competing special counsel bills that they needed to merge their proposals before he agreed to bring them up.

When asked if he'll be shocked if Trump fired Mueller, McConnell responded, "Yes, I don't think he should and I don't think he will".

Should it pass, Mueller would receive an "expedited judicial review" within 10 days of being fired to determine if it was for a "good cause".

But the majority leader said that he already brokered an agreement with the Democrats and that train has left the station.

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But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who last week said Trump would be committing "suicide" if he sacked the special counsel, scheduled the Mueller protection bill for consideration in his committee in just over a week.

And even if the bill does pass both the House and the Senate, it would still need President Donald Trump's signature to become law - something McConnell has said is unlikely.

McConnell argues, as he has in the past, that such a bill is "unnecessary" because there is "no indication" Trump would fire the special counsel.

Grassley said that he was unconcerned about McConnell's vow that he wouldn't bring the bill to the floor, saying it was irrelevant to his committee's work.

While the bill is bipartisan, a planned amendment from Grassley has Democrats concerned that he's going to try to undercut the bill, although Republicans say those concerns are unfounded.

"I'm the one who decides what we take to the floor, that's my responsibility as the majority leader, we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate", he said.

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"I trust this president on this issue". McConnell hasn't said boo about Trump's foreign emoluments, his grotesque conflicts of interest, or the nepotism and self-enrichment that are endemic to his administration.

He continued: "I'm focused on making sure we get to a mark-up on the Judiciary Committee next Thursday and that we're in a place for it to get passed the Judiciary Committee".

McConnell has argued for months that he does not believe a bill is necessary.

The measure is on the Judiciary Committee's agenda for Thursday, but due to the panel's rules the bill will be marked up the following week.

"In early December, President Trump, furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller's investigation had to be shut down".

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Other reports by Info About Network

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