August 11, 2022

A top Republican Senator just blindsided Trump with a surprise announcement about Mueller’s probe

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With an angry, agitated Donald Trump threatening to fire Robert Mueller, Sen. Tom Tillis of North Carolina stunned his colleagues this morning in calling for legislation to sharply limit the president’s ability to fire the special counsel without a clear cause for such an action.


Sen. Tillis called on a vote by the Judiciary Committee on his bill, introduced last year along with Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)  that would allow Mueller or any future special counsel challenge their firing in court. 

“I think it’s a good bill that has enduring value beyond this presidency,” Tillis told reporters, insisting this was not just a reaction in the wake of FBI raids no Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen’s home and office yesterday, which angered the president.

“I do think it’s a bill that’s worthy of a mark up in Judiciary and sending it to the floor,” added Tillis, adding he would favor this bill even if Hillary Clinton had been elected.

Tillis is in discussions about merging his bill with another introduced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

The Graham-Booker bill would require a judge to approve a Justice Department request to fire Mueller or any future special counsel. 

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa also said today that it would be wrong if the president fired the special counsel.

“I have confidence in Mueller,” said Grassley on Fox Business News, “the president ought to have confidence in Mueller, and I think…it would be suicide for the president to want to talk about firing Mueller. 

The Republican leadership led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said in the past multiple times that it sees no need for any such legislation, which would be a problem since McConnell can determine if a bill ever gets a vote before the full Senate.

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On the Democratic side, there have been numerous calls to protect Mueller, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York firmly declaring his belief that if Trump were to fire Mueller it would be wrong and illegal.

“By his own words it’s clear the president may be considering firing the special counsel,” Schumer said today before the Senate.

“This Congress must respond forcefully and on a bipartisan basis by reaffirming our belief the president cannot fire the special counsel without cause and by passing legislation to ensure any attempts to remove Robert Mueller will be unsuccessful.”

Schumer added that Congress must stop any “attempted assault on the rule of law in America. The eyes of history are upon us.”

So there is a bipartisan group of lawmakers who believe Trump should not fire Mueller without clear legal justification but unfortunately, the way the system is designed means that McConnell alone in the Senate and Speaker Paul Ryan in the House can stop any legislative attempts to tie the president’s hands – and at this point that is what is likely to happen.

So once again, as the entire country teeters on the verge of a serious constitutional crisis, the best response is for voters to turn out in November and elect those who do want to uphold the rule of law and make sure America is on the right side of history. 

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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