Flake, Coons push for vote on Mueller protection bill

Flake, Coons push for vote on Mueller protection bill

  08 Nov 2018

Jeff Flake and Chris Coons

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) plan to ask for a floor vote on legislation to shield Special Counsel Robert Mueller from a firing when the upper chamber returns to session next week, Flake said on Thursday.

The bipartisan Mueller protection legislation cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in April but has seen no floor action amid public skepticism from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Mueller’s Russia investigation faces any legitimate threat from President Donald Trump.

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Following Trump’s Wednesday ouster of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in favor of acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker — who has publicly criticized the Mueller probe — Flake tweeted, “it is more important than ever to protect the Special Counsel.”

Flake and Coons’ plan to seek unanimous agreement to vote on the bill, however, are still likely to draw an objection from the GOP side of the aisle.

McConnell told a radio station in his home state on Thursday that “I don’t think there’s any chance that the Mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish” in light of Sessions’ departure from the Department of Justice.

Democrats are all but guaranteed to support next week’s bipartisan push for action on the Mueller protection bill, which was the product of months-long talks to combine two different versions of the legislation.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Flake and the GOP’s initial sponsors of pro-Mueller measures, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), in voting for the bill when the committee approved it earlier this year.

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