The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman said on Thursday that having a vote on the bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from getting fired was the right thing to do.
“It’s legitimate that the bill be brought up,” he said. “It would satisfy me if it became law because I voted for it.”
— The Hill (@thehill) November 16, 2018
The bill, called “The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act” was approved by Grassley’s Judiciary Committee last April by a 14-7 vote in favor of it. And Grassley did vote for the legislation when it passed out of his Judiciary Committee.
The senior Iowa senator made his comments after he was forced to hold over judicial nominees at a meeting of the Judiciary Committee because of opposition from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Flake said he would block Republican judicial nominees from coming to the Senate floor until the special counsel protection bill gets a vote on the Senate floor.
Grassley said that while he’s not at the “forefront” with Flake in pressuring McConnell, he does believe that the Mueller protection bill should be voted on, and he is in favor of it passing.
“I’m not going to be in forefront with Flake advocating that the leader do so and so, but I wouldn’t do anything to stop it,” he said. “Usually, a chairman of a committee if he doesn’t want a bill brought up can … object to unanimous consent.”
Flake on Thursday said the legislation would pass if it came to the floor.
“There are some who are not on the committee who will vote for this,” he said of Senate GOP colleagues. “It will pass on the floor.”
He said McConnell doesn’t want to bring it to the floor because he’s worried about angering President Trump.
The legislation would codify existing Department of Justice regulations requiring that the special counsel can only be fired for good cause by a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official. It would also create a 10-day window for a judge to decide whether any termination of a special counsel is for good cause and stop the firing if it fails to meet the cause requirement.
In a series of tweets on Thursday Trump renewed his criticism of Mueller’s investigation into his administration. After Trump’s outburst, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sounded the alarm, saying that “Trump is interfering in the Mueller probe right in front of our eyes.”