- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Thursday Democrats are delaying a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller in the event that President Trump moved to fire him.

Mr. Grassley said he had wanted to put the bill, introduced this week, on the agenda Thursday, which would set it up for a vote next week. But top committee Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein objected, which Mr. Grassley said will delay getting it done.

“This delay is uncalled for and unnecessary,” he said.

The bipartisan bill would give a fired special counsel a window of time to get to a court to challenge the firing.

Mrs. Feinstein, though, had worried about an amendment Mr. Grassley is planning to offer that would increase reporting to Congress about the special counsel’s purpose and activities.

Mr. Grassley insisted his proposal wouldn’t undermine the protections bill.

“I’m at a loss to see how a call for the administration to be more transparent about decisions involving the special counsel — including any decision to fire the special counsel or curtail his investigation — would undermine the Mueller investigation,” he said.

Ms. Feinstein said she still hoped the committee would debate the bill next week, saying lawmakers will have had enough time to study the issues.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, urged the committee to take a stand more quickly by passing a non-binding resolution expressing senators’ feeling that neither Mr. Mueller nor Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should not be fired.

“It would buy us the time and give us the credibility to move forward,” Mr. Durbin said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, called on the committee to pass the bill and for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, to bring it to the chamber floor.

“It’s my view that if the bill came to the floor and passed with a significant majority, the House would follow because the pressure would be enormous,” Mr. Schumer said on the chamber floor.

House Democrats introduced their own version of a Mueller-protection bill Thursday, and demanded action. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte requesting the legislation get a vote.

The debate among lawmakers comes after the president, outraged that Mr. Mueller’s team raided his personal lawyer’s files, publicly pondered firing the special counsel.

On Thursday, though, he said he doesn’t plan to dismiss Mr. Mueller.

“If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him. Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Thursday.

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