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Bipartisan Bill Would Hamper Trump From Firing Mueller

| by Jordan Smith

A bipartisan Senate bill would impose a restriction on the ability of President Donald Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or any other future special counsel.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware introduced the legislation Aug. 3, according to CNN.

The bill would impose a requirement for a judicial review if Trump decided to fire a special counsel.

"The president would maintain the power to remove the special counsel, but we would just want to make sure that it had merit and have that back-end judicial process," Tillis told CNN.

"And if there is a termination, we just want to make sure, through judicial review, that it was warranted," added Tillis.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the top judicial official in the U.S., recused himself from the Russia investigation now being led by Mueller. This has led to speculation that Trump may be considering firing Sessions and appointing an attorney general who would fire Mueller.

Tillis indicated that his support for the measure was firm, noting that if Trump attempted to veto the plan, "it means that we'd have work to do potentially override a veto."

The attempt to restrict the president's power came as a report stated that Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C. Mueller's spokesman declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Grand juries are frequently the prelude to the launching of criminal prosecutions.

"Former FBI Director Jim Comey said three times the president is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that that has changed," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to The Hill.

Tillis and Coons are not the only senators seeking to curb the executive's power to fire Mueller. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey tabled a bill July 31 that would require the Justice Department to obtain authorization from a federal judge before firing Mueller or any other special counsel.

"Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a special counsel to make sure it's done for the reasons cited in the regulation rather than political motivation," Graham said. "I think this will serve the country well."

Trump has criticized the Russia probe, as well as Mueller, alleging on Fox News that Mueller is good friends with Comey, whom  Trump fired in May.

"The people who have been hired are all [former Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton supporters," added Trump. "Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint."

Will Trump veto the bill?
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