Graham backs bill to protect Mueller

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamUS defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Lawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Ky.) to hold a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

“I would certainly vote for it,” Graham told reporters, according to Reuters. “I don’t see any movement to get rid of Mueller. But it probably would be good to have this legislation in place just for the future.” 

Graham co-sponsored the legislation to protect the Mueller investigation in April 2018. It would codify Department of Justice regulations that say only a senior official can fire Mueller or another special counsel, and would give a special counsel the ability to challenge their firing in court.

The South Carolina Republican worked with Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 MORE (R-N.C.), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump McConnell displays mastery of Senate with impeachment victory Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle MORE (D-Del.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSpeculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises MORE (D-N.J.) on the legislation and previously voted for it in committee.

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The special counsel is examining ties between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Democrats and some Republicans have raised concerns that the ouster of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Barr back on the hot seat McCabe: 'I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage' MORE last week threatens the investigation.

Trump replaced Sessions with Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, who has criticized the probe in the past.

Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' Short defends Trump's tweets as a 'very effective way' to communicate with Americans Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Calif.), have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from the investigation.

"Given his record of threats to undermine & weaken the Russia investigation, Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from any involvement in Mueller’s investigation," she tweeted. "Congress must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation."

McConnell said last Friday that legislation protecting Mueller was not needed because he doesn't believe President Trump will fire the special counsel.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters Tuesday that he supported the bill to protect Mueller but would not lobby McConnell on allowing the legislation to move forward, Reuters reported. 

– Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated Nov. 14 at 12:15 p.m.