Just two days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear he had no intention of letting such bill be brought up for a full Senate vote.
“I’m the one who decides what we take to the floor. That’s my responsibility, as the Majority Leader and we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” McConnell told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Tuesday. He reiterated his previous claims that such legislation is not necessary and that there is “no indication” that President Trump would fire Mueller.
“I don’t think the President is going to do that. And just as a practical matter, even if we passed it, why would he sign it?” McConnell said.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act — legislation that was created by merging two bipartisan Senate bills designed to protect Mueller. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC, Chris Coons (D-DE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Cory Booker (D-NY) are the legislation’s sponsors.
It remains to be seen whether McConnell’s stated refusal to advance the bill will spook Judiciary Republicans from supporting it on Thursday.
The legislation would codify Justice Department regulations limiting who can fire a special counsel and for what reasons. It also would give a fired special counsel the option to challenge his or her removal court.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in a statement called it a “mistake” not to pass legislation protecting Mueller.
“We ought to head off a constitutional crisis at the pass, rather than waiting until it’s too late,” Schumer said. “I hope the Judiciary Committee moves forward with a bill, and that members of Senator McConnell’s caucus push him to reconsider.”
Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from Minority Leader Schumer.