Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Stepped down from left by Sen. John Thune, RS.D., and majority whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks to reporters after a closed-door strategy meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1
WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thwarted a cross-party effort on Tuesday to protect Special Adviser Robert Mueller. He said he would not vote on the legislation, even though
McConnell said the bill was unnecessary because President Donald Trump Muller would not be fired.
"We will not have that on the floor of the Senate," McConnell said on Fox News.
His comments came under widespread opposition to the bill among the members of his group, with several GOP senators saying the bill was unconstitutional. Others said it was simply not a good policy to try to tell Trump what to do to compare the legislation to "poke the bear".
Cross-party legislation was introduced last week, when Trump Mueller publicly criticized the possible links between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign and possible obstruction of the president's judiciary. Trump, furious with a raid on his personal law firm by another department of the FBI, said last week that the Mueller investigation was "an attack on our country" and "corrupt."
Trump has also privately considered dismissing a deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who directs Müller's investigation.
Within a day of Trump's criticism, Republicans Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina combined two bills they had introduced last summer to protect special advisors. They introduced the new bill along with Democratic Sens. Delaware's Chris Coons and New Jersey's Cory Booker and Chair Senate Republican Senator Grass Grassley announced that his committee would vote on the bill.
The legislation would make it very special to consult a ten-day window to accelerate a judicial review of a shootout, and to enforce existing laws of the Department of Justice requiring dismissal for "good cause".
Democrats immediately jumped on the legislature, but many Republicans have (19659016) At least three of the 11 GOP members of the judiciary have said they will vote against, and another five have said they have questions about their constitutionality. Grassley is one of those with reservations, but said he feels compelled to hold a poll.
Republicans on the committee also had questions – and some admitted that it could be politically difficult.
South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said Tuesday that Trump should make the decision alone and be responsible for the consequences.
"I think the congress tells him what we should do in this case is easy to kick the bear and I just would not prefer doing that," Rounds said.
Sen. Jim Lankford of Oklahoma said the bill was a "political distraction."
"You are creating all that constitutional political excitement about something that is not going to happen," he said. 19659022] Others said it made little sense.
"It's about as popular as cholera with the Senate leader and it's about as popular as malaria in the house," said Senator John Kennedy, a member of the judiciary. "I think most people think we're having an unnecessary fight with the president."
Coons was concerned about the criticism that the legislation was unconstitutional and pointed out that several courts had maintained similar special statutes in the belief that this was unconstitutional, I would not move it, "said Coons, a lawyer  At a September hearing on the two separate bills, the scientists disagreed, before they were merged, whether the bills were constitutionally in doubt that the judiciary was not allowed to authorize that authority through an executive decision
"I. I think it's probably unconstitutional, and I do not think there's a realistic chance that the President will fire Mr. Miller, "Sen John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican and former Texas Attorney General, said Tuesday.
McConnell agreed, adding that Trump never legislated would support.
"Just like a practical matter, even if we insist on it, why should he sign it?" McConnell said in the Fox interview.
Republicans who spoke almost unanimously with the White House have held the line that Trump is not firing at either Muller or Rosenstein – including Tillis and Graham, who say they are pushing legislation because it's a good policy under any President would.
"I do not think he's going to shoot Müller, but I think it would be nice to have some safeguards," Graham said Tuesday.
Tillis confirmed last week that he had taken some "heat" from the Conservatives, but told the court panel, "This is really an opportunity to take an ethical standpoint, and do not do it if that's the situation benefits you. "
Democrats declared that Republicans who oppose legislation protect Trump.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the argument about constitutionality was a "red gentleman" Some colleagues used it as a pretext to protest the law when they really have other reasons. "He gave no details."
Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the Supreme Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Special Adviser Bill is "so much more" than another political debate.
"I think that will be one of which history will judge us all. "
Associated Press author Lisa Mascaro has contributed to this report.
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