Bipartisan Senate bill to protect Mueller set for release Wednesday

- April 11, 2018

A combined version of two bipartisan Senate bills designed to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job is set to be released Wednesday, marking lawmakers' latest political warning shot to President Donald Trump as he entertains firing the man investigating him.

The new Senate legislation is the product of months-long talks among Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), who introduced similar versions of Mueller protection bills last year. The success of their bipartisan talks was confirmed by two sources familiar with the discussions.

The senators' final product would give any special counsel 10 days after a termination to challenge the move in court.

While the agreement among Graham, Tillis, Booker and Coons represents a key step forward in the legislative effort to deter Trump from firing Mueller, the legislation remains short of buy-in from Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who would have to steer it through his influential panel to the Senate floor. Grassley, who declared Tuesday that a Mueller firing would amount to "suicide" by Trump, has raised possible constitutional concerns but not ruled out eventual support.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated yesterday that, despite fresh signs Trump is considering a firing, he is not convinced that a Mueller protection bill merits floor time in the chamber. "I haven't seen a clear indication yet that we need to pass something to keep him from being removed," McConnell told reporters.


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