Mueller Bill Passes Senate Committee Without McConnell's Blessing

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Greg Nash

"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", he said in a statement.

"The vote marks the first time Congress has advanced legislation to formally protect Mueller from being fired by President Trump, who has railed against him in public and reportedly talked in private of dismissing him", writes the Hill. The president tweeted his outrage after the raid, causing lawmakers from both parties to warn against the firing of the special counsel.

The Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly has just approved a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump.

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It is unclear whether the Sen.

It would codify Department of Justice protocols that say only a senior official can fire Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian election meddling and possible connections to the the Trump campaign. The four Republicans who voted for the bill were the committee's chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of SC, and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Even if it were passed by the Senate, the bill would then need to pass the House, where several key Republicans have been vocal critics of Mueller's probe, and Trump would need to sign it. John Cornyn - the Senate's No. 2 Republican - and fellow GOP Sens.

It also would create a 10-day window within which a special counsel could petition a panel of judges to determine if the firing was for good cause. Grassley, the committee's chairman, said he would work to get a floor vote on the legislation. "But because of the fact that it's going on, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved", Trump said. "It's about the rule of law", Graham said Thursday. It also would give any special counsel ten days after a termination to challenge the move in court - and would preserve staffers, documents and materials of an investigation.

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Numerous committee's Republicans argued that the legislation would be unconstitutional, claiming that it would infringe on the executive branch's constitutional powers.

Some senators voted against the bill because they thought it was an unconstitutional infringement on executive branch power.

On the other side is Fordham law professor Bruce Green, who says presidents can set criminal justice policy, but generally they don't have constitutional authority to direct a prosecution.

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