- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has no intention to allow a vote on a bill to protect the special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump.
- McConnell made the assertion during a Fox News interview on Tuesday, even as congressional Republicans and Democrats move to insulate the special counsel, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
- The majority leader has previously waved off the effort and said he didn’t think Mueller needed to be protected. He made his position abundantly clear on Tuesday: “I’m the one who decides what [legislation] we take to the floor. … We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” McConnell said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that he has no intention to allow a vote on a bill designed to protect the special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump.
“I’m the one who decides what [legislation] we take to the floor…. We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” McConnell said during a Fox News interview on Tuesday.
McConnell said “there’s no indication that Mueller’s going to be fired,” echoing his previous assertions on the matter. He added: “I don’t think the president’s going to do that just as a practical matter. Even if we passed [the bill], why would he sign it?”
Congressional Democrats and Republicans last week seemed to get on board with a compromise bill to fence off Mueller and his investigative team, who are looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, and a number of additional threads, including an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump.
If Mueller were to be dismissed, the bill, called The Special Counsel Independence Integrity Act, would challenge his firing in court.
Despite the move, McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the two top Republicans in Congress, have both expressed scepticism over whether such protective measures are necessary.
Ryan previously said of the notion Mueller could be fired: “I have no reason to believe that’s going to happen.”
“I have assurances that it’s not, because I’ve been talking to people in the White House about it,” Ryan said.
The strength of those assurances is not entirely clear, as Trump has moved to fire Mueller on at least two occasions:
- In May 2017, shortly after Mueller’s appointment and following then-FBI director James Comey’s firing. White House general counsel Donald McGahn reportedly threatened to resign if Trump demanded that he carry out the order, and Trump backed off.
- And again in December the same year, after Trump caught wind of reports that Mueller was seeking information on his family’s personal business dealings with Deutsche Bank. Mueller’s team notified Trump associates at the time that the reports were untrue.
More recently, Trump and some of his associates have sought to reshuffle the officials in Mueller’s orbit as an alternative to firing the special counsel directly. The latest target of that effort has been deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
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