Senate panel moving ahead with Mueller bill despite McConnell opposition

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFord lawyer proposes testifying next Thursday Yale Law School dean responds to reports that Kavanaugh hired women with 'certain look' Kavanaugh tells Senate panel: I want a hearing to 'clear my name' MORE (R-Iowa) said his committee will take up legislation to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE despite opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (R-Ky.).

"They got together, so I feel an obligation to keep my word and move forward," Grassley said when asked if he would still give the special counsel legislation a vote.

Grassley had previously urged supporters of two competing special counsel bills to strike an agreement and merge their proposals.

ADVERTISEMENT


That legislation is on the agenda for a committee business meeting on Thursday, but an actual vote is expected to be delayed until next week.

McConnell said he has no intention of bringing the bill up for a floor vote during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. 

"I'm the one who decides what we take to the floor, that's my responsibility as the majority leader, and we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate," he told Fox News.

McConnell has argued for months that he doesn't believe legislation protecting the special counsel is necessary. He has said he doesn't believe President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE will fire Mueller, despite Trump's public comments and reported attempts to do just that.

Grassley sidestepped a question about whether he would urge McConnell to bring up the bill, noting it still needs to get out of committee. He said McConnell has a "terrible job."

"But I can't worry about what's going on on the floor. I've just got to do what I can do," he said.

With at least GOP Sens. 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 (N.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKim, Moon toss ball to Trump in ‘last, best chance’ for Korean peace GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Collins: Kavanaugh accuser should 'reconsider,' testify on Monday MORE (S.C.) joining Democrats in supporting the bill, it's expected to have the votes to clear the Judiciary Committee next week.

But it faces an uphill climb to getting 60 votes in the Senate, much less passing the more conservative House. 

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation last week that would codify that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and give Mueller or any other special counsel an "expedited review" of any firing. 

If a court determines a special counsel wasn't fired for "good cause," the person would be reinstated.