News & Politics

This Republican Senator Has a Ridiculous Reason for Refusing to Protect Mueller

He claims an affirmative vote would help create a "fourth branch of government."

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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) thinks it’d be “disastrous” if President Donald Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller — but that it’s more dangerous still if a bill is passed to protect the investigator.

In a statement given to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, the Nebraska Republican said that although he thinks Trump “firing Robert Mueller while Russia is waging a shadow war against America would be disastrous for the nation,” he won’t vote for the Senate’s bill to protect the special counsel because he believes doing so would create a new branch of government.

“We can’t solve a crisis of public trust by creating a constitutional crisis with a new fourth branch of government,” Sasse said in his statement. “And unfortunately, that’s the road this bill takes.”

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According to the magazine, Sasse and his retiring Senate colleague Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are worried the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which was sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats, creates an improper extra-legislative body because it would require a three-judge panel to approve if the attorney general fires a special counsel. They’re joined in their opposition to the bill by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he would not vote for the bill protecting the special counsel because he doesn’t believe the president would sign it.

Sasse told the Standard that although he doesn’t support the current bill, he does support a non-legislative resolution that Mueller “should be permitted to finish his work in a timely fashion.”

“We should say loudly and clearly: if the President tries to deep-six the Special Counsel, the Senate will use all of its constitutional authority to ensure the investigation is sustained until completion,” the Nebraska senator said.

Noor Al-Sibai is a writer and editor for Raw Story, whose work has appeared in Bustle, Everyday Feminism, and Rewire.