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Graham backs bill to protect Mueller

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Progressive support builds for expanding lower courts McConnell backs Garland for attorney general MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo MORE (R-Ky.) to hold a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 TillisMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general GOP senators demand probe into Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths CNN anchor confronts GOP chairman over senator's vote to convict Trump MORE (R-N.C.), Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsPelosi's '9/11-type' commission to investigate Capitol riot could prove dangerous for Democrats Key players to watch in minimum wage fight Sunday shows - Trump acquittal in second impeachment trial reverberates MORE (D-Del.) and Cory BookerCory BookerCongressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line 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 TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills 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 SessionsManchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Ocasio-Cortez targets Manchin over Haaland confirmation 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 PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley says he'll decide this fall whether to run in 2022 Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Durbin: Garland likely to get confirmation vote next week 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.