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GOP senator wants committee vote on bill protecting Mueller

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (R-N.C.) said on Tuesday that he wants the Judiciary Committee to vote on his bill limiting President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE's ability to fire Bob Mueller, but downplayed the idea that his push is a reaction to Trump's latest attack on the special counsel.

"I think it's a good bill that has enduring value beyond this presidency," Tillis told reporters.

"I do think it's a bill that's worthy of a markup in Judiciary and sending it to the floor."

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He added he would be asking for the committee vote even if Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE were in the White House and "we were having the same discussion with a different sort of a flare to it."

Tillis and Sen. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.) introduced legislation last year that would let Mueller or any special counsel challenge their firing in court.

A separate bill, from GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse to advance appropriations bills in June, July The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won MORE (S.C.) and Democratic Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (N.J.), would require a judge to approve a Justice Department request to fire Mueller or any other special counsel.

Tillis noted that he's had conversations with Graham about merging their legislation. GOP leadership has repeatedly dismissed the need for Congress to preemptively take action.

Tillis's comments come after Trump lashed out following an FBI raid on the offices and hotel room of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. A referral from Mueller's team reportedly prompted the raid.

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"Attorney–client privilege is dead!" Trump said in a tweet, adding: "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!"

The president's comments sparked the latest round of warnings from Capitol Hill that firing Mueller would be a mistake.

Tillis said on Tuesday that the president appeared "frustrated" but signaled Trump had made similar comments in the past.

"I feel like the reaction we're seeing is similar to the last time he expressed frustration back in August," the North Carolina Republican said.