With the news that broke today suggesting that Rod Rosenstein could be fired by Donald Trump, which could put the Mueller investigation in peril, Senate Democrats renewed calls for legislation to be voted upon to protect the Mueller investigation from being obstructed by President Trump:
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Monday called for the Senate to pass legislation that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation, a move that comes amid news reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expects to be fired.“The Senate must pass legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller TODAY,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “Republican leaders must allow it to be voted on. We can no longer afford to wait. This is a matter of preserving the rule of law,” she added.“It is more urgent than ever that the Senate pass S.2644, the bipartisan bill to protect the independence of the Special Counsel,” Leahy said on Twitter. “If we do not defend the rule of law in these moments, we risk losing it.”
This is not the first time Trump or allies of Trump have come close to taking action to derail the Mueller investigation, nor is it the first time Democrats have urged the Senate to vote on a bill to pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.
Yet, a vote has never taken place on this bill, because Mitch McConnell has repeatedly refused to put the bill up for a vote.
On November 3, 2017, three Republican allies of Trump in Congress called upon Robert Mueller to resign, and Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly indicated tacit support for their reasoning:
Representatives Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs and Louis Gohmert accused Mueller of a conflict of interest because he was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation when former President Barack Obama’s administration approved an agreement allowing a Russian company to buy a Canadian company that owned 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies.
President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans have been calling for an investigation into the Uranium One deal, amid news of Mueller’s first indictments of Trump associates as the special counsel investigates allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
On Monday, the day the indictments became public, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said a special counsel should be appointed to investigate Democrats over the uranium deal.
The very next day, Mitch McConnell refused to support voting on a bill to protect the Mueller investigation:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday that special counsel Robert Mueller is not in need of congressional protection from President Donald Trump.
“I don’t hear much pressure to pass anything,” McConnell told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt. “There’s been no indication that the President or the White House are not cooperating with the special counsel.”
Two months later, on January 25, 2018, a report came out that Donald Trump had ordered the White House Counsel Don McGahn (since fired by Trump for cooperating with Robert Mueller) to fire Robert Mueller:
The reports, first by the Times and then others, said Trump backed off on his attempt to fire the man who is investigating him, his election campaign’s Russian contacts and his firings of FBI Director James Comey and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — but only after lawyer McGahn refused to relay his directive to the Justice Department and threatened to quit if Trump pressed the issue.
Five days later, after renewed calls from Democrats for Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on the bill to protect the Mueller investigation, Mitch McConnell again refused:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday dismissed Democratic calls to take up bipartisan legislation aimed at shielding Robert Mueller from being fired, saying that the special counsel “seems to need no protection.”
McConnell told reporters that he sees no imminent threat to Mueller’s job from President Donald Trump, who has publicly aired frustration with the special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with Trump campaign allies. Senators have pitched two bipartisan bills designed to prevent Mueller’s firing by Trump, but efforts to combine them have stalled as the GOP professes a continued lack of urgency.
At the moment, McConnell told reporters, “I’m unaware of any effort, official effort, on the part of the White House to undermine the special counsel. And so I don’t feel any particular need to reach out to protect someone who seems to need no protection.”
On April 10, 2018, news came out that Trump had again tried to fire Robert Mueller the preceding December:
Trump reportedly tried to fire Mueller after he became enraged over reports that the special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records on Trump’s finances.
A week later, Mitch McConnell again refused to bring the bill to protect the Mueller investigation up for a vote, even after two Republican Senators had signed onto the bill:
Sens. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, and Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which protects Mueller, including ensure that the special counsel can only be fired for “good cause” by a senior Justice Department official.
McConnell said he won’t bring the legislation to the Senate floor.
“I’m the one who decides what we take to the floor, that’s my responsibility as the majority leader, we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” he said.
Besides calling on Mitch McConnell to bring legislation to protect the Mueller investigation up for a vote, it seems like it is about time for Democrats on Capitol Hill to start asking some tougher questions as to just why Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to do so. Mitch McConnell’s past responses that there is no need to protect the Mueller investigation just do not hold water. Does Mitch McConnell really even want the Mueller investigation to be protected?