Schumer: It's time to vote on legislation protecting Mueller

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats should end their hypocrisy when it comes to Kavanaugh and the judiciary Celebrities back both Cuomo and Nixon as New Yorkers head to primary vote Dems launch million digital ad buy in top Senate races MORE (N.Y.) on Tuesday called on Senate GOP leaders to bring legislation to the floor that would protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE from being fired in the midst of heightened tension over his investigation into Russian election meddling.

Schumer called for new protections of Mueller hours after the FBI raided the Manhattan office of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, enraging the president.

The Democratic leader warned that Mueller’s investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded to avoid a constitutional crisis.

He noted that there are several bipartisan bills to protect the special counsel.

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“Let us take steps to protect the special counsel from political interference. We have several bipartisan bills designed to do just that. Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell should bring them to the floor and let us debate them very soon,” Schumer said.

Trump blasted the Department of Justice Tuesday morning after FBI agents used a search warrant to seize documents from Cohen’s office and residence on Monday afternoon.

“Attorney–client privilege is dead!” he tweeted. “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”   

Trump did not rule out firing Mueller while speaking to reporters before a White House meeting on Monday.

Calling the investigation a “disgrace,” Trump said, “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him.’”

Schumer defended the raid as being approved by lifelong public officials, noting there was a high bar for them to obtain a warrant.

“Law enforcement officers believe there’s a good chance that the attorney for [the] president committed [a] crime or was involved in fraud where they couldn’t have gotten the okay from the magistrate to make these seizures,” Schumer said. 

Democrats and a few Republicans have pushed in recent months for legislation to protect the special counsel’s independence.

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina governor: We saw ‘significant damage’ in eastern part of state GOP senator on allegation against Kavanaugh: 'Why on Earth' wasn't it discussed earlier? North Carolina senator: Damage from Florence 'in the billions of dollars' MORE (R-N.C.) last year floated a bill that would empower judges to reinstate Mueller if a court found his firing to be improper. 

That bill was cosponsored by Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday shows preview: White House officials on offensive in wake of anonymous NY Times op-ed Congress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property White House drops plan to cut foreign aid MORE (D-Del.).

Another bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCriticizing Trump’s ‘unsung success’ in Puerto Rico is valid — empty rhetoric is not Biden: Delay Kavanaugh vote to give accuser a fair, respectful hearing Ken Starr says 'I trust Brett Kavanaugh' over allegations that are 'so wildly out of character' MORE (R-S.C.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Judd Gregg: The collapse of the Senate Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.J.) would require judicial approval of any effort by the Justice Department to fire Mueller.

Most Republicans, including GOP leaders, however, have argued prior to this week that legislation is not necessary because Trump is unlikely to fire Mueller.

Trump would likely need the sign-off of Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Lisa Page bombshell: FBI couldn’t prove Trump-Russia collusion before Mueller appointment Ken Starr: 'Hell to pay' if Trump tries to fire Mueller MORE to dismiss Mueller. Rosenstein is working closely with the special counsel and has repeatedly said he has no cause to fire him. 

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow Grassley: Kavanaugh accuser 'deserves to be heard' in 'appropriate' manner MORE (Texas) told reporters last month that “I just think it’s not necessary” when asked about a bill to protect the special counsel, and noted that such a bill would need Trump’s signature to become law. 

Schumer, however, argued that Republicans can no longer be confident that Trump won't act.

“For months Republicans have said that legislation to protect the special counsel is not needed because they’ve been assured by nameless people that the president won’t fire the special counsel,” he said. “That assurance has been shaken by the president’s comments last night.” 

Trump again criticized Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify | Kavanaugh denies allegations, says he’s willing to testify | 50 days from the midterms Ken Starr backs Mueller, says president 'must be held accountable' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE on Monday for recusing himself from investigations related to possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions's recusal is what put Rosenstein in charge of the probe.

“The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself,” the president fumed, adding that he would have picked a different attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself.