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Mueller investigation protection legislation pushed by Democrats as Rosenstein future in doubt

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Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller.
Alex
Wong/Getty Images


  • Democrats are pushing Congress to pass legislation protecting
    special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • The renewed focus on such legislation comes after reports
    suggested that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could
    soon depart his position.

Democrats are pushing for “immediate” legislation to protect
special counsel Robert Mueller after a whirlwind Monday featured
reports suggesting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
could soon depart his position.

“We shouldn’t wait for President Trump to further obstruct
justice,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat form California, told
Business Insider. “The House should have a floor vote immediately
on legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.”

Though Rosenstein did not resign or get fired on Monday, the
White House announced that Rosenstein and President Donald Trump
will meet on Thursday. Last week, The New York Times and
other outlets reported that
Rosenstein discussed invoking the 25th Amendment
and removing Trump from office in the days the immediately
followed the president firing FBI Director James Comey.
Rosenstein also mentioned secretly recording Trump, The Times
reported.

Rosenstein disputed the account, saying it was inaccurate, adding
that “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” A Justice
Department spokeswoman told The Times that Rosenstein’s comment
about recording Trump was made sarcastically.

Democrats, responding to news of Rosenstein’s possible departure,
pushed for legislation that had been passed by the Senate
Judiciary Committee
with Republican support earlier this year
but was never brought forth before the full body for a vote.

In April, the committee approved legislation that would protect
Mueller from being fired by giving him and other special counsels
the ability to challenge such a firing in court. After the
Rosenstein rumors heated up on Monday, Democratic House and
Senate aides told Business Insider that Democrats will push for
legislation ensuring Mueller can only be fired for good cause and
that any such firing is subject to judicial review.

The April legislation passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee
would do that, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who
at the time did not think Trump would consider firing Mueller —
promised not to put it on the floor. Meanwhile, House Republicans
and Trump are unlikely to vote for and sign such legislation.

Additionally, some Republicans expressed concern that
legislation
aimed to prevent the president from firing an
executive branch official would be unconstitutional.

That bill was sponsored by Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of
Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Thom
Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Four Republicans voted in favor of the bill in April — Tillis,
Graham, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Prominent Democrats — such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — called for Congress
to pass such legislation.

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