McConnell: Mueller needs 'no protection' from Trump

McConnell: Mueller needs 'no protection' from Trump
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP’s midterm strategy takes shape MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday shot down taking up legislation to block the Trump administration from unilaterally firing Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, saying the special counsel isn't under threat. 

"My understanding is there's no effort underway to undermine or to remove the special counsel. Therefore, I don't see the need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection," McConnell told reporters.

Asked what would happen if Trump tried to fire Mueller, McConnell said the question is a "hypothetical" and "as of right now I'm unaware of any effort, official effort, on the part of the White House to undermine the special counsel." 

The New York Times reported late last week that Trump in June tried to fire Mueller — who is investigating the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow — but was stopped after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign. 

Democrats have latched onto the report, arguing it underscores the need for legislation protecting Mueller's job. 

GOP Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOrrin Hatch: Partisanship over Kavanaugh nomination 'dumbass' Kavanaugh tells senators Mueller’s appointment was appropriate: report Senators restart talks to fix family separations MORE (N.C.) and Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsOn The Money: Senators propose 'crushing' Russia sanctions | Trump calls for food stamp work requirements in farm bill | China tells US to 'chill' on trade | Apple hits trillion in value Let’s honor public service Senate Dem: Talk of revoking security clearances a ‘pure distraction’ MORE (Del.) introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act last year, which would let Mueller or any special counsel challenge their firing in court.

A separate proposal from GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Turkey slaps more tariffs on US goods | Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill | Senate turns to toughest 'minibus' yet Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill White House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report MORE (S.C.) and Democratic Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report Kavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report MORE (N.J.) would require a judge to approve a Justice Department request to fire Mueller or any other special counsel.

But the bills face an uphill battle to getting 60 votes. Republicans are publicly supportive of Mueller but skeptical that the president would actually fire him. 

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down US judge rejects Russian company’s bid to dismiss Mueller charges Falwell Jr.: Sessions and Rosenstein ‘deceived’ Trump into appointing them and should ‘rot’ in jail MORE named Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel for the Russia investigation after Trump fired then-FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTucker Carlson attacks press as ‘state media’ after Trump strips ex-CIA chief’s clearance Comey: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance shows 'he will punish people who disagree with him' Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan MORE