Senate panel moves to take up bill protecting Mueller

The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving forward with legislation to limit President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE's ability to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE

Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Iowa) wants to add the bill to the panel's business meeting agenda scheduled for Thursday, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to The Hill.

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"In order to do that, the Minority would need to assent. Committee rules require such assent within 72 hours of a markup. Grassley has sought that assent, and is waiting to hear back," said spokesman George Hartmann.

A spokesman for Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHere's what the judiciary committee should ask Christine Blasey Ford Kavanaugh to address sexual misconduct allegations on Fox News Monday Kavanaugh accuser Ford to Grassley: 'My fear will not hold me back from testifying' MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, confirmed that Grassley and his staff have reached out about adding the legislation to Thursday's agenda. 

Asked if Feinstein had signed off, the spokesman added that it was under review. He later clarified that they have not yet received a copy of the bill text. 

Even if the bill is taken up by the committee, it could still face delays.

Under committee rules, any one member can delay a vote on legislation for a week. Multiple senators on the panel are opposed to the bill, making it likely it will be held back. 

The legislation, from Sens. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsJudiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh Kavanaugh allegations could be monster storm brewing for midterm elections      Sunday shows preview: White House officials on offensive in wake of anonymous NY Times op-ed MORE (D-Del.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-White House official revises statement to Mueller after Flynn guilty plea: report CNN editor: Booker's 'groping incident' 'different' from Kavanaugh allegation Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE (D-N.J.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' North 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? MORE (R-N.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw Kavanaugh: 'I will not be intimidated into withdrawing' MORE (R-S.C.), would let Mueller, or any other special counsel, receive an "expedited judicial review" within 10 days of being fired to determine if it was for a "good cause." If it wasn't, the special counsel would be reinstated. 

The measure would also codify existing regulations that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and that they must provide the reason in writing.

Tillis told The Hill that he wasn't certain the bill would be able to get a vote on Thursday but said it would "certainly" happen "here in the next week."

The committee action would come after two previous special counsel bills languished for months without a vote.

If the bill passes out of committee it would also put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Ky.) to let the legislation come up for a vote. 

McConnell on Tuesday said he saw no need for a vote on legislation protecting Mueller because he doesn't believe Trump will fire him.