Senators to Trump: Let Mueller finish Russia probe
Senators, some of them Republicans, are preparing to formally signal to President Trump that he shouldn’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
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.
One of the amendments is being offered by GOP Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Orrin Hatch (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 Durbin (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 Rosenstein.
“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.