As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia carries on, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) and Democratic Senator Cory Booker (NJ) have put forth a bill that seeks to constrain President Trump’s power to fire Mueller.
The bipartisan legislation would require a judge to approve any request to fire Mueller or any other special counsel, sending any challenge to that decision to the Supreme Court. The Justice Department could only remove a special counsel “after the court has issued an order finding misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause.”
“Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a special counsel to make sure it’s done for the reasons cited in the regulation rather than political motivation. I think this will serve the country well,” Graham said in a statement, according to The Hill.
The measure, which is also backed by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), is the second bill to be introduced on Thursday aimed at blocking President Trump’s ability to fire Mueller and limiting the Justice Department’s ability to follow such orders.
Under the Graham-Booker bill, the Justice Department would have to start the process of trying to fire a special counsel by filing “an action” with the court and notifying both the House and Senate Judiciary committees.
In another bipartisan effort, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DEL) introduced a bill on Thursday that seeks to block Trump from firing Mueller or any other special counsel appointed since mid-May.
Trump has repeatedly targeted Mueller in his rhetoric, prompting Republicans to call on him to tone down his attacks. The Washington Post’s James Downie writes that not only does Trump wants “a partisan overseeing the investigation, but he believes he still controls where it goes.”
“It’s one thing for a independent observer to comment on what Mueller should or shouldn’t be investigating,” Downie writes. “It’s another thing entirely for the president himself to say it, while musing that he could get Mueller dismissed due to ‘conflicts’ at any time.”
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