Senate bill would require court's approval for Trump firing Mueller
© Getty

GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (S.C.) and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) are moving to limit the Trump administration's ability to fire Robert Mueller as the latter investigates any potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The legislation would require a judge to approve a Justice Department request to fire Mueller or any other special counsel. Any appeal of that decision would go to the Supreme Court, according to the bill.

"Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a special counsel to make sure it’s done for the reasons cited in the regulation rather than political motivation. I think this will serve the country well," Graham said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Booker added that special counsels should never be subjected to "interference or intimidation because of where an investigation takes them."

The measure, which is also backed by Democratic Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE (R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), is the second bill to be introduced on Thursday aimed at blocking President Trump's ability to fire Mueller and limiting the Justice Department's ability to follow such orders.

Under the Graham-Booker bill, the Justice Department would have to start the process of trying to fire a special counsel by filing "an action" with the court and notifying both the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

The Justice Department could only remove a special counsel "after the court has issued an order finding misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause."

Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Grassley offers DACA fix tied to tough enforcement measures We are running out of time to protect Dreamers MORE (R-N.C.) and Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate ethics panel wants details on sexual harassment allegations American innovation depends on strengthening patents Tax reform and innovation – good news and a cloud MORE (D-Del.) also introduced legislation earlier Thursday that would block Trump from being able to fire Mueller or any other special counsel appointed since mid-May. The Justice Department appointed Mueller to lead the investigation into Russian election interference that month.

The bills come as Trump has repeatedly lashed out against Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt." Allies of the administration have also accused the former FBI director, who is widely respected in Washington, of being too biased to lead the probe.