President Trump continues to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Fearing that the president may pressure the acting attorney general to fire Mueller, Senator Jeff Flake is working to pass legislation in the lame duck session of Congress that help shield Mueller from the president's wrath.
The ire that President Trump feels for Robert Mueller is evident to anyone reading the president’s Twitter feed. In one recent tweet, for instance, the president wrote, “The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other.”
As an employee of the Justice Department, Mueller could be fired by the attorney general. Some observers say that President Trump asked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign in order to do this. Matthew Whitaker is now serving as the acting attorney general.
In April, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced S. 2644, legislation that would place some limits on the ability of the attorney general to fire a special counsel. This bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Senator Jeff Flake has announced that he will not support confirmation of any of the president’s judicial nominees until the Senate considers S. 2644. If all the Democrats support the bill and the Republicans who have cosponsored it do, too, then it will have a majority of senators in favor of it. First, however, it must be called up and placed on the Senate calendar. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell controls what legislation is put on the calendar, and there is no indication that he wants to spend time in the lame duck session considering this bill.
If Senator McConnell does bring the bill up for consideration, it would still face a filibuster threat. If the bill overcame that threat, it would then go to the House of Representatives and then, upon passage, be presented to the president for his signature. President Trump seems unlikely to sign such a measure.
While there is little chance that S. 2644 will become law, Senator Flake and others are pushing for its consideration to discuss the importance of protecting the Mueller investigation. If Sen. McConnell does not allow this debate to happen, he may find it difficult to confirm any federal judges during the remainder of the lame duck session.
Do you support legislation to protect Robert Mueller’s investigation? Do you agree with Sen. Flake’s refusal to vote in favor of any of President Trump’s judges until the Senate debates legislation to protect Mueller?