Four U.S. senators, including Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make it hard for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
The proposal could get its first vote Thursday, though Republican floor leaders are skeptical of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
But the key Republican at the committee level — Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican and Judiciary Committee chairman — has said he will allow the bill to come to a vote, telling CNN that he hoped that could happen Thursday.
The bill, also sponsored by Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey, would state that special counsels can only be fired by the Justice Department and for “good cause.” The bill also would give a counsel a 10-day period to dispute such a finding in court, and if the judge didn’t agree the firing was for “good cause,” it would not take effect.
However, both the Senate two top Republicans — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas — have publicly doubted such a bill.
Mr. Cornyn said Wednesday he didn’t know whether he’d allow a floor vote.
“The biggest question I have is if it did pass, would the President sign it? I think it’s unlikely he would and, as I’ve said, I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said.
According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Trump believes he has the legal power to dismiss Mr. Mueller.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Judiciary panel’s top Democrat, also said she’d want to read the bill and to speak to Mr. Grassley before agreeing to move it forward this week.
“If there are going to be amendments, we need to see them now and not agree to something we haven’t seen,” she said.
Any member of a Senate panel can hold over a bill and delay a vote for a week, and some Judiciary Republicans, such as Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, have said they will oppose the bill.