Senate Judiciary Committee approves bill to protect special counsel; is it constitutional?

Trump said in a phone interview Thursday with “Fox & Friends” that Mueller’s probe “is a disgrace.”

Trump said in a phone interview Thursday with “Fox & Friends” that Mueller’s probe “is a disgrace.”

Almost three quarters of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide Comey: I'm "embarrassed and ashamed" by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated Federal Bureau of Investigation rules MORE should not fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE, according to a survey released Thursday.

There also are constitutional concerns about the bill, known as the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) cosponsored the bill. Republicans, such as Tillis and Graham, have argued that their support for the bill isn't necessarily tied to Mueller; rather, they want to protect any and all future special counsels.

While Republicans have said the legislation is not about Mueller's investigation, Trump's flirtation with firing the special counsel or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mueller, loomed over the hearing. The designation, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by The Associated Press, has raised questions about what legal threat Trump personally faces from the special counsel and whether it has any impact on his decision to sit for an interview with prosecutors. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, opposes the bill. The special counsel would have the ability to appeal the dismissal. Cornyn has repeatedly said that such legislation isn't necessary because he doesn't believe Trump would fire Mueller, calling such a move a "bad mistake" that could cause "all sorts of unintended consequences".

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Officials also point out that opioid abuse is at epidemic levels in the US and a top public health concern. Carlisle Elks Lodge 578 will hold a prescription drug takeback day from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m.

Trump reportedly considered firing Mueller at least twice past year. And if it did win lawmakers' approval, President Donald Trump would likely veto the bill. Mike Lee of Utah and Hatch as an alternative to replace the text of the special counsel bill with a "sense of the Senate resolution".

It also would create a 10-day window within which a special counsel could petition a panel of judges to determine if the firing was for good cause.

After the vote, the committee's top Democrat stepped up that effort.

Posner had called for legislative protection for the special counsel in a February 4 op-ed for the New York Times.

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