House Democrats plan to push forward with H.R. 5476, also called the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, a bi-partisan bill protecting the special counsel from being fired without reason by President Donald Trump, despite Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declaring in April that he would not allow the bill on the Senate floor.
“We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” McConnell said in an interview with Fox News.
A sense of urgency to pass the bill has emerged as it was announced earlier this week that President Trump would meet with with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with speculation that Rosenstein would be fired. That meeting has since been rescheduled for next week.
Should Rosenstein be let go, it would open the door for Trump to insert someone of his choosing to the position, who would also have the authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, putting the brakes on his investigation into the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
Unlike the House review of the bill, H.R. 5476 will be submitted to the Senate as an amendment, attached to three tax-related bills. By submitting the bill as an amendment, Jim McGovern (D-Mass) will bypass McConnell, and force Republicans to publicly weigh in on the bill.
The bill would establish a process for firing the special counsel. A senior Justice Department official would have to do the firing, and would have to inform the special counsel of the reason behind the firing. At that point, the special counsel would have a 10-day period in which to appeal the firing before a judge. Should the judge find that there was no “good reason” for firing special counsel, the special counsel would remain in the position and continue with their investigation.
McConnell stopped progress of the bill earlier this year, stating that he felt it to be unnecessary legislation.
“It’s not about Mr. Mueller,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), “It’s not about Trump. It’s about the rule of law.”
Graham and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) along with Chris Coons (D-DE.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) authored the bill.