WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are renewing their attempt to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s job, sending a signal to President Donald Trump as he keeps up his criticism of Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The legislation, sponsored by incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and three other members, is expected to be introduced this week. The same bill was approved by the panel in April but later blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said it was unnecessary and who allowed the legislation to expire at the end of the year.
But there will be more pressure on senators this Congress as Democrats now have the House majority and have already introduced a similar bill.
Graham is a friend and ally of the president’s but has frequently warned him not to mess with Mueller’s job.
“I think this will serve the country well,” Graham said in a joint statement ahead of the bill’s introduction.
Both Graham and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, the bill’s other Republican sponsor, have said they don’t think Trump will move to have Mueller fired.
The legislation would allow any fired special counsel to seek a judicial review within 10 days of removal and puts into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be fired for good cause. It would also order that staff remain and documents be preserved while the matter is pending.