Graham backs bill to protect Mueller

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamExperts warn of persistent ISIS threat after suicide bombing Graham: Trump should meet Pakistan's leader to reset relations State of American politics is all power games and partisanship MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE (R-Ky.) to hold a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 TillisCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-N.C.), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Sunday shows preview: Washington heads into multi-day shutdown MORE (D-Del.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerJimmy Carter tells Booker: 'I hope you run for president' Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend 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 TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity 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 SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Fox’s Wallace to Pence: Is government shutdown all about ‘leverage?' Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security 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 GrassleyDem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries 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.