Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least CBS News in talks to hire Flake: report MORE (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday that he will try to force a vote on legislation protecting special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE after President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE ousted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony AG pick Barr emphasizes independence from Trump Hillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news MORE Wednesday.
 
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"When the Senate convenes next week, @ChrisCoons and I will ask for unanimous consent to bring S.2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, to a vote on the Senate floor. After the firing of The AG, it is more important than ever to protect the Special Counsel," Flake said in a tweet. 
Under Senate rules, Flake can go to the floor and ask for consent to set up a vote or even pass a piece of legislation. But any one senator can block his request, and given the opposition within the GOP caucus to the special counsel bill, Flake's move will likely be unsuccessful. 
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation last year that would protect Mueller, or any other special counsel, in the event he is fired, but the bill has stalled amid opposition from GOP leadership. 
 
The bill would codify Justice Department regulations that say only a senior DOJ official can fire Mueller or another special counsel.
 
It would give a special counsel an "expedited review" of their firing. If a court determines that it wasn't for "good cause," the special counsel would be reinstated.
 
Flake's decision to try to get a vote next week comes after Trump removed Sessions as attorney general this week and named Matthew Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, as his temporary replacement.
 
The Justice Department confirmed that Whitaker would take over oversight of Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election, which Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinLive coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing The Hill's Morning Report — No new negotiations as shutdown hits 25 days Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee MORE had overseen after Sessions recused himself last year due to his work on the Trump campaign.
 
Whitaker has previously been critical of Mueller's investigation and his ascendence to atop the Justice Department on Wednesday sparked immediate calls from Democrats for him to recuse himself and for Congress to pass legislation protecting Mueller.
 
But Democrats, who are in the minority, are not able to muscle through legislation protecting Mueller on their own. And Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Mellman: Why does the GOP persist? Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-Ky.), have repeatedly denied the need for the bill because they have said they do not believe Trump will fire Mueller.
 
"I haven't seen a clear indication yet that we needed to pass something to keep him from being removed because I don't think that's going to happen, and that remains my view," McConnell told reporters in April