Senate panel pushes bill protecting Mueller to next week

Senate panel pushes bill protecting Mueller to next week
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The Senate Judiciary Committee is punting a bill limiting President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's ability to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE into next week, instead of considering it on Thursday. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Hillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE (D-Calif.) said she and Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Grassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation MORE (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, had "agreed to not take action this week but instead place the bill on the committee’s markup calendar next week."

"I’m worried about an amendment we haven’t been able to review that could undermine the investigation," she said. 

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Asked what amendment Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, was referring to, her spokesman pointed toward a recent New York Times article. 
 
GOP committee aides told the Times that Grassley wants to offer an amendment that would require the Justice Department to give a report to Congress when there is a change in the scope of a special counsel investigation or if the special counsel is fired.
 
Pushing the legislation into next week is a delay from Grassley's request to put it under the committee's agenda for a business meeting on Thursday.

Grassley aides noted earlier Wednesday that the GOP senator needed Feinstein to sign off on changing Thursday's agenda because it was within 72 hours of the meeting.

Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, confirmed on Wednesday evening that Grassley would place the bill on the agenda for the first time next week instead of Thursday. 

"Because of Sen. Feinstein’s decision, the Committee will now vote on the special counsel bill on April 26 instead of April 19," he said.

The timeline implies that the bill will be added to a committee markup on Thursday, April 19, though it is not yet listed on the committee's website. 

And under committee rules, any one member can delay the legislation once it's been placed on the agenda for a week. 

Several members on the committee are opposed to or have concerns about the legislation, meaning it will likely be delayed an additional week, setting up a vote for April 26. 

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 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.), 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.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North 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.
 
Updated at 7:04 p.m.