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S.1741 - Special Counsel Integrity Act

To ensure independent investigations by allowing judicial review of the removal of a special counsel, and for other purposes.


You might favor this bill if:
► If you believe that the removal of special counsel should only come from the personal action of the Attorney General, or should he be recused from the matters of the investigation, the most senior DOJ official who has been confirmed by the Senate.
► If you think that, in case of the termination of a special counsel, an appeal process must be created, allowing a court of three judges to examine the case and in the case of an appeal to that decision be necessary, the case should be ultimately heard by the Supreme Court.

You might oppose this bill if:
► If you believe the President of the United States has the constitutional ability to fire or remove a special counsel, even if there is a conflict of interest with current investigations.
► If you think the legislation is a political advance on President Trump.

The Special Counsel Integrity Act sets in place the terms behind the removal of a special council. It clarifies who can fire an acting special counsel and would allow for an appeal of such termination to be made through a court of three judges. If an appeal is made, the case would be directed to the Supreme Court.

The legislation states that a special counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by:
- The personal action of an Attorney General who has been confirmed by the Senate; or
- If the Attorney General is recused from the matter, the most senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official, who has been confirmed by the Senate and hasn’t recused himself from the matter. The current special counsel system is the derivation of both Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Clinton’s impeachment process.

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller, former Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the DOJ. According to the New York Times, Mueller oversees the investigation into "any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Rosenstein, as Deputy Attorney General due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has said himself that he too would recuse himself should he himself were to become subject of the investigation. The legislation would apply to any special counsel appointed on or after May 17, 2017.

If enacted, a special counsel may only be removed for:
- Misconduct;
- Dereliction of duty;
- Incapacity;
- Conflict of interest; or
- other good cause, including violation of policies of the DOJ.

The Attorney General, or the most senior DOJ official, would then have to inform the special counsel in writing with the specific reason for removal.

Any legal action filed concerning the legislation would be reviewed by a court of 3 judges within 14 days and any appeal would be heard directly by the Supreme Court. Should the courts then decide that the individual was removed in violation of this act, the individual would be immediately reinstated to the position of special counsel.

H.R.4669

Sponsored by: Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9].

Cosponsored by: 1 Rep / 0 Dem.

S.1741

Sponsored by: Sen. Tillis, Thom [R-NC].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 1 Dem.


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