Republicans Are No Longer Interested in Protecting Robert Mueller from Trump

News & Politics

For months, congressional Republicans have attempted to cobble together legislation that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump. In the wake of indictments for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and with Mueller’s warning of more indictments forthcoming, those GOP attempts have fizzled.

According to interviews with officials on the Hill by the Daily Beast, Republicans suddenly aren't interested.

“I don’t feel an urgent need to pass that law until you show me a reason that Mr. Mueller is in jeopardy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the bill with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). “I don’t think anybody in their right mind at the White House would think about replacing Mr. Mueller unless there was a very good reason.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote their own bill that would allow Mueller to challenge his termination if Trump were to fire him. Such actions would take place before a panel of three federal judges chosen after the firing, were it to happen.

But others believe the likelihood of Mueller's firing is so slim that conjecture is a waste of time.

“I can’t even imagine any administration taking a move like that,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has been a loud critic of Trump in recent weeks. “That would be going a step further than I could possibly imagine.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called it too early to know whether something like that is necessary. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said “Mueller knows what he’s doing” and Congress should stay in “our lane.”

“It depends on how the president reacts,” Flake said. “There’s no indication that he’s going to go in and fire or pardon at this point.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), both serving on their respective intelligence committees, have indicated they’re interested in such legislation, but have done little to persuade their GOP counterparts to act.

Trump has reportedly thought about firing Mueller over the last several months. Steve Bannon, meanwhile, has reportedly plotted “a much more aggressive legal approach short of firing Mueller,” the Daily Beast reported Monday.

In the past, Fox News touted Mueller’s credibility. When he was appointed, the network listed key components to his background that made him an upstanding, fair and reasonable prosecutor. Recently, however, Fox has been calling for his firing.

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