McConnell says he won’t protect Mueller probe from Trump

This is despite increased bipartisan efforts to protect the special counsel.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CREDIT: Allex Wong/Getty Images
Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CREDIT: Allex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that there was no way he would entertain legislation that would prevent President Donald Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Speaking with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, McConnell said that such a measure is “not necessary” — despite an increasing bipartisan push to bring such legislation forward.

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“There’s no indication that Mueller’s going to be fired, I don’t think the president’s going to do that,” he said. “Just as a practical matter even if we passed it why would we sign it.”

Last week the Special Counsel and Integrity Act was introduced, which combines similar legislation from Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and another bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). It allows for a 10-day window in which the special counsel can appeal any decision to fire him to a three-judge panel.

The bill stalled after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) added an amendment requiring Mueller to report to Congress any changes in the scope of his investigation, but the desire to protect Mueller remains. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said “we need the bill to protect Mueller, and we need it now.”

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However, now that McConnell has announced that he has no intention of bringing such a bill to the floor, any legislation looks dead on arrival. More worryingly, however, it opens the door for Trump to fire Mueller since he now knows that Congress won’t act to stop him.

Ever since the FBI’s raid on the offices and home of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the president has been fuming over the legal investigations surrounding him, and suggested that he has at least considered firing Mueller.

“I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on,” Trump said during a press availability last Monday. “We’ll see what happens, but it’s really a sad situation when you look at what happened. And many people have said, ‘You should fire him.'”

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has also changed her tune about the possibility of firing Mueller. During a press briefing last week, Sanders said that the White House “had been advised” that Trump has the power to fire Mueller — which marks a major change from March, when the White House said it “is not considering or discussing” firing Mueller.

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Meanwhile, Fox News, the president’s favorite network, has been laying the groundwork for Trump to fire Mueller for months. Heavy-hitter commentators like Jeanine Pirro, Newt Gingrich, and Sean Hannity — who now has his own Trump-related headache to deal with — have been working to discredit the special counsel’s probe as ineffectual and biased.