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

GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate panel advances three spending bills Trump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official 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 Whitehouse6 months in, GOP tax bill an utter flop Live coverage: FBI chief, Justice IG testify on critical report GAO to look into Trump's reduction of carbon social costs 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 TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed MORE (R-N.C.) and Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill All the times Horowitz contradicted Wray — but nobody seemed to notice Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase 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.