Senate

Graham backs bill to protect Mueller

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

"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 Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on the legislation and previously voted for it in committee.

The special counsel is examining ties between President Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Democrats and some Republicans have raised concerns that the ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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 Pelosi (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 Grassley (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.

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