Chris Coons urges vote on Mueller bill: ‘Easiest way possible to prevent an entirely predictable constitutional crisis’

Chris Coons urges vote on Mueller bill: ‘Easiest way possible to prevent an entirely predictable constitutional crisis’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsTrump got in Dem’s face over abortion at private meeting: report Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Actor Chris Evans meets with Democratic senators before State of the Union MORE (D-Del.) Wednesday urged a vote on a bill he’s co-sponsored to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE from being fired by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE, citing the White House’s unpredictable nature as a reason for his urgency. 

“This is the easiest way possible to prevent an entirely predictable constitutional crisis," he said.

"When I press my friends who are Republican senators and leaders and say, ‘What would we do if he were to abruptly fire Robert Mueller,’ they say, ‘well, it’s not going to happen.’ " Coons said. "This is a simple step. … We could take up and pass this bill in a few minutes this afternoon and I’m confident it would get 60 votes.”

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Coons will join Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePoll: 33% of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union MORE (R-Ariz.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night Overnight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run MORE (D-N.J.) on the Senate floor to try to force a vote on their bill to protect Mueller.

Flake has threatened to vote against any judicial nominee put forth in the lame-duck Senate session until the bill is voted on, giving Republicans no margin for error in their current 51-49 majority in the Senate and 11-10 majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Flake sits.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday said that GOP lawmakers were exploring the possibility of a vote on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Poll: 33% of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump MORE (R-Ky.) has opposed bringing the measure to the floor for a vote.

"We're whipping that to see where people are. I think the leader needs that information to decide how to manage all the competing demands on our time," Cornyn said when asked about discussions within the Republican caucus about the legislation.

Cornyn added Republicans were willing to hold a vote on the legislation "if that's what it's going to take" to move nominees. 

In addition to Flake, several Republican senators, including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump's emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down MORE (Maine), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency Dems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters MORE (N.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamActing Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it MORE (S.C.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (Iowa), support giving the legislation a vote on the Senate floor. 

Coons also mentioned acting Attorney General Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerEx-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ GOP pollster says Dems are relitigating 2016 election with investigations of Trump Former senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ MORE’s past comments criticizing Mueller as another reason to vote on the bill.

“A number of senators of both parties have privately agreed that Whitaker is a less reliable supervisor and may well stumble into interfering with the Mueller investigation or may do it intentionally,” he said.

Whitaker will replace Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump MORE in overseeing the probe and has made several comments in the past that were critical of the inquiry.

He touted in a 2017 interview that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia, adopting a favorite line from the president and undercutting the reason Mueller was appointed. He also said in 2014 that the courts were intended to be the "inferior" branch of government.

He wrote an op-ed for The Hill in May 2017 criticizing the idea of appointing a special counsel for the DOJ’s investigation.

“Serious, bipartisan congressional investigations into the Russian allegations have been under way for weeks and they have made progress. Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way,” he wrote. 

His past comments led several high-profile Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) and current House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records Coast Guard lieutenant accused of planning domestic terrorism denied bail Inviting Kim Jong Un to Washington MORE (Calif.) too call for his recusal.