House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Fixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates MORE (D-Calif.) says Democrats will demand that protections for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE be included in a must-pass spending bill if GOP leaders fail to bring the legislation to the floor.
The Thursday threat comes on the heels of news that Michael Cohen, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s former personal attorney, has entered into a plea agreement with Mueller and agreed to cooperate in the special counsel’s sprawling Russia probe. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying last year to congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the election.
“The Congress must immediately pass legislation to preserve the Special Counsel investigation, which is identical to bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee," Pelosi said in a statement.
“If Speaker Ryan refuses to take up that bill, House Democrats will fight to include language to protect the investigation in the upcoming must-pass spending bill.”
Pelosi’s Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.), has been issuing similar threats ahead of Dec. 7 government funding deadline.
Trump and the GOP need the support of Democrats in the Senate to pass any legislation, though they don't require the cooperation of Democrats in the House.
Trump, meanwhile, is demanding $5 billion for his border wall in the spending package — far more than the $1.6 billion Democrats are willing to give up — which has further raised the prospects of a government shutdown next week.
Both House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 Hoyer: Democrats 'committed' to Oct. 31 timeline for Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ky.) have said legislation to protect the Russia probe are unnecessary — even after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE and replaced him with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been vocally critical of the Russia probe.
But retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.) has vowed to block all judicial nominations until the Senate considers a Mueller protection bill. Senate GOP leaders, seeking to diffuse the situation, said they would gauge support for the legislation.
Efforts by Flake to bring the bill to the Senate floor have been blocked thus far.