Politics & Policy

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Shielding Mueller

Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in 2012. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday shielding Special Counsel Robert Mueller from potential dismissal.

The bill, which passed 14–7 with the support of all the panel’s Democrats and four Republicans, codifies Department of Justice regulations that limit the reasons a special counsel can be fired, requires Congress be given advanced notice of an impending firing, and gives a terminated special counsel the chance to appeal their firing in court.

The measure has little chance of going to the Senate floor for a vote as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly indicated he doesn’t believe it is necessary.

The committee chairman, Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), made a last minute change to the bill Wednesday night to ensure its passage, removing a provision that would require the special counsel to notify congressional leadership “if there is any change made to the specific nature or scope” of their investigation. Democrats on the panel were reportedly concerned that the language would be used to provide Republicans an advanced opportunity to rebut forthcoming findings in the press.

“It is possible the bill goes too far,” Grassley said at a committee meeting Thursday. “But at the very least, if my amendment is adopted, it will require the executive branch to give more information to Congress, and that will allow Congress to do its job more effectively and to safeguard the interests of the American people.”

Rank-and-file Democrats continue to emphasize the importance of the legislation in light of Trump’s continued public attacks on Mueller’s investigation, while Republicans outside of the committee have been hesitant to voice their support, though many have publicly cautioned Trump against firing Mueller.

Trump indicated he might intervene to stop the probe Thursday morning during a phone interview on Fox & Friends.

“You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI — it’s a disgrace,” Trump said. “And our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won’t…”

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

White House

What Is Hillary Clinton Thinking?

When Homer Simpson looks in the mirror, he sees ripped chest muscles and arms like the trunks of beech trees. When Hillary Clinton looks in the mirror, she sees America’s sweetheart. She thinks: America adores me. She thinks: America already chose me to be president once! She thinks: Everyone is comparing me ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Grassley’s Kangaroo Court

So now it looks like next Thursday. On Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s manifestly meritorious nomination to the Supreme Court, what was supposed to be the vote out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this past Thursday now appears to be sliding into a hearing to be held next Thursday. Or, who knows, maybe a Thursday ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Censure Dianne Feinstein

Regardless of the fate of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Senate should censure the ranking Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein. Her deception and maneuvering, condemned across the political spectrum, seriously interfered with the Senate’s performance of its constitutional duty to ... Read More

Are We on the Verge of Civil War?

Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps. It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure, and freedom in the history of civilization. The ancient historian Thucydides called the civil discord that tore apart the ... Read More