Senators to Trump: Let Mueller finish Russia probe

Senators to Trump: Let Mueller finish Russia probe
© Getty Images

Senators, some of them Republicans, are preparing to formally signal to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE that he shouldn't fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Two groups of senators are offering "sense of the Senate" resolutions as amendments to a bill to protect the special counsel that is set to get a committee vote on Thursday.

The resolutions are nonbinding, meaning even if they get added to the Mueller bill and passed the Senate, they don't have the force of law or require Trump's signature.

But they would formalize a message to Trump that senators have been giving publicly for months: Let Mueller finish his probe into the 2016 election.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the amendments is being offered by GOP Sens. John CornynJohn CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (Texas), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Reexamining presidential power over national monuments Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising MORE (Utah) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Judiciary Dems say GOP treating Kavanaugh accuser worse than Anita Hill Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh MORE (Utah).

"Robert Mueller should be permitted to finish his work in a timely fashion," the GOP amendment says.

But the GOP senators also appear to take a swing at the bill protecting the special counsel, saying that Congress "should not resurrect unconstitutional barriers to executive authority."

Each of the three GOP senators have said they don't believe the bill to protect Mueller, or any other special counsel, is constitutional.

But it appears unlikely the GOP amendment will be passed. It would effectively replace the entire special counsel legislation and swap it out for the nonbinding GOP resolution — a move Democrats are unlikely to support.

A spokeswoman for Cornyn declined to say if the No. 2 GOP senator would offer the amendment as a stand-alone resolution if Republicans aren't successful on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.) is offering two amendments that would give Senate backing to calls for Trump not to fire Mueller.

One amendment would take the place of the entire special counsel bill and urge Trump to not fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinFormer federal prosecutor joins Kavanaugh accuser's legal team Dem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein FBI group defends agents amid Trump’s attacks MORE.

"It is the sense of the Senate that President Donald J. Trump should not terminate Special Counsel Robert Mueller or the supervisor of the Special Counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, during the pendency of the investigation by the Special Counsel," Durbin's amendment reads.

A separate amendment would add the same sense of the Senate into the bill, but keep the rest of the legislation intact.