Democratic senator renews calls for bill to stop Trump from firing Mueller

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

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Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal is pushing for a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.
  • On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Trump had ordered Mueller’s firing in June 2017, but backed off after his counsel threatened to quit.
  • Blumenthal called the report “deeply scary.”

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling on Congress to pass a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.

Blumenthal’s push for a special protection bill comes in the wake of a report by The New York Times alleging that President Donald Trump ordered Mueller to be fired in June 2017, just one month following FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal. Trump reportedly changed his mind when the White House counsel Don McGahn refused to follow the order and threatened to resign. Trump has dismissed the report as fake news.

“Stunning, deeply scary Trump move to fire Mueller raises need for Special Counsel protection bill immediately,” Blumenthal said in a tweet Thursday night. “Judiciary Committee must approve and Congress must pass.”

This isn’t the first time Blumenthal has floated the idea of a bill that would prevent, or at least make it more difficult, for Trump to unilaterally fire Mueller, who is investigating possible obstruction of justice and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the 2016 election.

Last month, Blumenthal told Politico that such a bill is “absolutely necessary” in the wake of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea.

In August, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker introduced The Special Counsel Independence Protection Act (SCIPA), which would require Trump or his attorney general to get approval from a panel of federal judges before removing Mueller as the special counsel.

As Republicans ramped up attacks against the Russia investigation, accusing Mueller’s team of anti-Trump bias, Booker moved to get his bill passed as quickly as possible.

“I feel a sense of urgency to do this – not just for this moment in history, but to create more checks and balances within the system as a whole,” Booker said.

In November, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt that he didn’t think Congress needed to legislate the scope of Mueller’s investigation or pass a bill to ensure Mueller isn’t fired.

“I don’t hear much pressure to pass anything,” McConnell said. “There’s been no indication the president or the White House are not cooperating with the special counsel. I think the view up here is: let him do his job.”