Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal

Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday called for the Senate to pass legislation that would protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's Russia investigation, a move that comes amid news reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill Jake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general MORE 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.

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Multiple news outlets reported Monday morning that Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller's Russia probe, was preparing for his departure as the second-ranking official within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Axios reported Monday that Rosenstein had verbally offered his resignation to chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE. The reported move came just days after The New York Times published an article saying Rosenstein in 2017 proposed surreptitiously recording President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE, and that he discussed with DOJ colleagues the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

NBC News on Monday reported that Rosenstein is refusing to resign and that he intends to force Trump to fire him if the president wants him out.

Harris's call for legislative action was echoed by other Democrats, including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE (N.Y.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight MORE (Vt.).

"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."

Democrats have repeatedly called for action on legislation that would protect Mueller's probe.

In April, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) said he didn't think such legislation was "necessary."

Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, would be in charge of overseeing Mueller's investigation if Rosenstein resigns or is fired.