|You might favor this bill if:
► You believe that a special counsel should not be removed by the president, or the executive branch, without first notifying congress. 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:
► You believe the executive branch, and therefore the president, should continue to have the ability to fire any special counsel, even if there are potential conflicts of interest. The President of the United States has the constitutional ability to fire or remove a special counsel, even if there is an ongoing investigation underway.
"Prosecutorial authority of the United States belongs to the Department of Justice," said Sen. Mike Lee, warning that the bill did not respect the separation of powers and would create a "de facto fourth branch of government."
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell(R-Kentucky), who has previously said that the bill is not needed since he didn't believe Trump was going to fire Mueller, saying the bill is "a solution in search of a problem," is being accused of protecting the President by blocking the bill from being voted on by Senate Democrats, including Sen. Coons (D-Delaware).
“I think, frankly, at the end of the day, Leader McConnell has gotten reassurances from the president that he won't act against Mueller, but those assurances are undermined every single day when President Trump both tweets untrue criticisms of Robert Mueller and his investigation and does other things that are unexpected or unconventional or unjustified,” said Sen. Coons. "This is the easiest way possible to prevent an entirely predictable constitutional crisis.”
Sen. Coons has said that he will continue to push for a vote on the bill since he is confident he has the 60 votes needed.
Senator Flake (R-Arizona), who threatened to hold his votes for Judges Judicial nominees if this bill was blocked from a vote, disputed McConnell on the Senate floor while reading President Trump's tweets.
"Why shouldn't we be up in arms about this? Should we here in the Senate be okay with that? I argue no, we should not be," said Sen. Flake. "With the President tweeting on a regular basis -- a daily basis -- that the special counsel is conflicted, that he's leading so called '12 angry Democrats' and demeaning and ridiculing him every way, to be so sanguine about the chances of him being fired is folly for us, I believe."
The future of the legislation is unclear although several Senate members have pledged to continue the push of the legislation.
Republicans currently hold an 11-10 majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"I have informed the majority leader I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor until ... [the bill] is brought to the full Senate for a vote," Senator Flake said from the Senate floor.
"There have been no indications that the independence of Mr. Mueller's investigation is in jeopardy," said Senator Flake. "That may have been an arguable position before last week. But it is not arguable anymore."
On this quote, Senator Flake is referring to the firing of Attorney General Sessions and the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, a vocal Mueller opponent.
“This is not a moment for our leadership to be weak or irresolute or compromised in any way,” continued Senator Flake. "The President now has this investigation in his sights, and we all know it."
Senator Mitch McConnell, who holds the power to put the bill up for a vote, reportedly opposed the idea, saying the he has never heard from the White House any suggestion to shut down the investigation.
Several Republicans have come forward saying they would vote for the bill including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and the legislation’s GOP co-sponsors, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis.
It's unclear whether or not the bill could reach the 60 votes needed for it to pass, and even then, the President would need to sign it. In case of a Presidential veto, two-thirds of the House would be need to revoke the veto.
Mr. Whitaker has publicly questioned Mueller's investigation and has a direct connection with a witness in the Mueller Investigation. Mr. Whitaker, Iowa attorney and one-time Iowa State Senate candidate, was Sam Clovis' chairman for his Iowa State Treasurer campaign. Sam Clovis is a direct witness in the Mueller investigation. This has caused Democrats to demand that Mr. Whitaker recuses himself from the investigation, just as Jeff Sessions had previously done.
“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” said Senator Chuck Schumer(D).
Before Jeff Sessions' replacement, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was overseeing the Mueller investigation. If Whitaker recuses himself from the investigation, Rosenstein would come back to oversee it.
Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, who won Utah's Senate seat, have made statements saying the investigation shouldn't be impeded in any way, although other Republicans don't seem to have a problem with Trump's decision.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R), original sponsor of the bill who previously stated there would be "holy hell to pay" if Trump impeded the investigation, said “I look forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor so that we can start a new chapter at the Department of Justice.”
According to this USA Today report, a court of appeals is asking both sides of the case whether or not Session's removal affects their side of the investigation. These are due on November 19th. The court could rule that Rosenstein should oversee the investigation and not the person President Trump appoints.
A Hill Reporter journalist, among other news reporters, reported that he was contacted via email from this same person. He writes that the person writing alleged to be a women from Florida who previously worked with Mueller and was offered money to accuse him. After detailed consideration, the email was considered to be a some sort of joke since they could not corroborate the information provided. Journalists took it seriously after a second woman came forward with similar allegations.
The journalist published the woman's email:
“I was contacted via phone call by a man named Bill Christensen, who had a British accent, and said that he would like to ask me a couple of questions about Robert Mueller, whom I worked with when I was a paralegal for Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro in 1974 (now called Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman),” the individual claimed. “I asked him who he was working for, and he told me his boss was some sort of politics guy in Washington named Jack Burkman (or Berkman… Not sure how it’s spelled)……." said the woman who alleges was offered money in exchange to accuse Special Counsel Mueller.
"….He [Bill Christensen] then offered to pay off all of my credit card debt, plus bring me a check for $20,000 if I would do one thing. In more of an effort to get him to go away than anything else, I asked him what in the hell he wanted me to do. He said that we could not talk about it on the phone, and he asked me to download an app on my phone called Signal, which he said was more secure. Reluctantly, I downloaded the app and he called me on that app a few minutes later. He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect’.”
After learning of the alleged smear campaign against Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel's office asked the FBI to investigate the matter.
According to an NBC News report, these calls were connected to a company called SureFire Intelligence when a second woman came forward with a similar email from a SureFire Intelligence agent. SureFire Intelligence is run by Jacob Wohl, a 20-year old political commentator and banned financial analyst, son of David Wohl, Trial Attorney and Campaign Surrogate for President Trump.
On November 1st, a press conference was held by Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman with the intent of bringing forward the allegations against Robert Mueller. Jacob Wohl told reporters the woman making allegations had contacted Wohl with claims Mueller had sexually assaulted her in a New York City hotel room in August of 2010. The woman didn't show up for the press conference because she feared for her life, and according to Wohl, this was because she panicked and didn't go to Washington as planned. Wohl described her as a well-educated fashion designer who is not politically oriented.
According to a Snopes article, a Washington Post 2010 blog post suggests that then FBI Director Robert Mueller had attended Jury Duty on the day of the alleged accusation. When asked about this, Wohl responded that this was an attempt to discredit the woman bringing the allegations forward. He then added, "sometimes people go to jury duty, but they're also somewhere else," which caused reporters to laugh, to which he responded, "It's not funny. It's not a laughing matter." As the press conference was ending Burkman announced he was taking one more question to which one of the reporters shouted, "Are you both prepared for federal prison?"
According to a Department of Justice press release, Elena Khusyaynova, age 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering.
Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others. As part of her role in the operation, Khusyaynova allegedly oversaw its finances, "including foreign influence activities directed at the United States.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the press release that “this case serves as a stark reminder to all Americans: Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates. We take all threats to our democracy very seriously, and we’re committed to working with our partners to identify and stop these unlawful influence operations. Together, we must remain diligent and determined to protect our democratic institutions and maintain trust in our electoral process.”
The social media efforts specifically targeted events such as, the shootings of church members in Charleston, South Carolina, and concert attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, which left one person dead, and police shootings of African-American men, the press release says.
The DOJ release states that companies like Twitter and Facebook cooperated with authorities.
"The conspirators’ alleged activities did not exclusively adopt one ideological view; they wrote on topics from varied and sometimes opposing perspectives. Members of the conspiracy were directed, among other things, to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups” and to “aggravate the conflict between minorities and the rest of the population.” The actors also developed playbooks and strategic messaging documents that offered guidance on how to target particular social groups, including the timing of messages, the types of news outlets to use, and how to frame divisive messages," stated the DOJ release.
Other efforts were made with stories about Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushing them to "fully support" Donald Trump. Other efforts called Mueller "a puppet of the establishment," according to the complaint.
Although Mr. Rosenstein has verbally resigned, it is still unclear, as of Monday September 24th, whether his departure is official or not. Insiders report that Rosenstein is not expected to continue as Deputy Attorney General and other news outlets are reporting that he will make the resignation official. Either way, it is expected for him to quit or be fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly.
These allegations come to light after the New York Times reported that in 2017, during the removal of then FBI Director Comey, Rosenstein, a Republican having served under Bush and Obama, made comments regarding secretly recording President Trump with the intent of exposing "the chaos consuming the administration" and invoking the 25th amendment to remove him as President. Ironically, it was Rosenstein's own memo on Comey's handling of Clinton's email investigation which was used to fire Comey, since the White House used Rosenstein’s memo to justify Comey’s firing.
Some witnesses of the comments allege that Rosenstein made these comments jokingly, nevertheless these allegations carry heavy weight. Rosenstein denied the allegations.
"The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
The departure of Rosenstein has a huge impact on the Mueller investigation, after all Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Whomever comes to replace Rosenstein has the ability to fire Mueller and will oversee the investigation.
Senator Gillibrand says the Special Counsel must protected by passing this bill.
“The Senate must step up to protect the Special Counsel immediately,” Senator Gillibrand said in a tweet. “We must pass the bipartisan bill to protect the Mueller investigation. The American people deserve answers about Russian interference in our democracy.”
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the firing of Rosenstein should not impact the Special Counsel's investigation.
“This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Minority Leader Sen. Schumer said in a statement. “White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear since the beginning of the year that this bill will not be seen by the Senate.
“We'll not be having [The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act] on the floor of the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the bill earlier this year.
Paul Manafort, the President's ex-campaign chairman, has been found guilty on five tax fraud charges, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of hiding foreign bank accounts. The judge declared a mistrial for the remaining 10 charges since 1 juror could not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt on those charges.
Michael Cohen, the President's lawyer until May 2018, pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes, including tax evasion and making false statements to banks.
For President Trump, these two convictions open up a few new legal barriers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohen's conviction include testimony of him saying he arranged payments on behalf of Trump during the 2016 campaign to women who alleged they had sexual encounters with Mr.Trump. Not only did President Trump lie about these facts during a press questioning, the payments violate caps on campaign contributions and a band on corporate contributions.
Neither Manafort nor Cohen were believed to be working with Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. Now that both of these men are facing several years in prison, the story might change.
President Trump has used this opportunity to distance himself from his former colleagues.
“It doesn’t involve me,” President Trump said on the tarmac as he exited Air Force One in Charleston. “This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion.”
Since President Trump has called the Special Counsel's investigation a "witch hunt" that should be ended and with articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, currently overseeing the Mueller investigation, introduced in Congress, some believe the Special Counsel's investigation could be in danger of being ended.
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
CNN has reported that several members of the Mueller investigation have donated to Democrats. Nonetheless, several Republican Congress members have led congressional inquiries into the Russian probe.
President Trump's tweet came as a result of Paul Manafort's trial, ex-campaign chief for the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort is currently being tried by the Mueller team with bank fraud and tax crimes. President Trump accuses the government of not telling him that Manafort was under investigation and argues these are "old charges" that have nothing to do with the Russia-probe investigation.
Fox News reports that Mueller's "prosecutors were lectured by a federal judge on Wednesday for the language they’ve used in the courtroom," stating that the word "oligarchs" is continuously used by the Mueller team to describe wealthy Russian and Ukranian individuals, noting that American individuals, such as George Soros or the Koch brothers should be described in the same manner.
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, said Monday on an interview on Fox & Friends that "collusion is not a crime,"while the President repeatedly asserts that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.
"You can investigate an innocent person forever and forever and find nothing. When do we say enough is enough. No collusion, no obstruction. President Trump did nothing wrong," tweeted Giuliani.
As a response to the President's twitter post, where he says that Mueller has a conflict of interest from a "very nasty & contentious business relationship," Giuliani, on an interview with CNN, said that the President should not have to defend his position. "[Mueller] has the conflict, not the president," Giuliani said. "I'm not sure I know exactly what the conflict is. I have a good idea what it is. It's one that would have kept me out of the investigation."
According to CNBC report, "Trump has reportedly fixated on an allegation that Mueller in 2011 ended his membership at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia after a dispute over the club's fees." Mueller denies the allegations.
President Trump held a press conference alongside President's Vladimir Putin after a day of meetings with the Russian leader, where he said, "there was no collusion at all, it’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe,""the probe is a disaster for our country. It’s kept us separated." "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.""[Putin] just said it’s not Russia," President Trump said. "I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be." President Trump then switched the conversation to the fact that Hillary Clinton's emails are nowhere to be found and that there is still is a missing server from the DNC.
President Trump, in the press conference, said that Putin offered the members of the Mueller investigation to "come and work" with Russian investigators, calling it "an incredible offer."
Trump is being examined from members of his own party.
"President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world," Republican Senator McCain said. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant."
Republican Senator Jeff Flake comments about the Trump / Putin press conference in Helsinki.
I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 16, 2018
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary, defends both President Trump and the Mueller investigation.
That’s why Mueller’s report is important. He needs to let us know if there was collusion. If there was, let the chips land wherever they may. If not, the Ds owe Trump a big apology.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 16, 2018
Many are asking for protection for Special Counsel Robert Mueller due to the recent indictments in the investigation and the recent comments between President Trump and President Putin.
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
Some think of the tweet as evidence of the possibility that the President is attempt to test the limits on the investigation and on his pardon powers.
The Trump Administration has not elaborated on the legal backing behind his statements yet he continues to defend his thoughts on the appointment of the Special Counsel.
The President tweeted:
The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, stated over the weekend that the President could have "shot" former F.B.I. director Comey and still not be indicted, doing so in order to defend his point of view on the President's broad constitutional powers, adding that he “has no need to do that. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
President Trump has not provided any evidence for the claims. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said on CNN that the investigation is "illegitimate," rallying that there is a current political strategy to discredit Mueller's investigation with the sole intent of defending the President and defending the public opinion, from a possible impeachment. "We are defending -- to a large extent, remember, Dana, we are defending here, it is for public opinion, because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach," said Giuliani.
Senator Grassley had proposed an amendment which would force the special counsel to report any changes to the scope of his investigation to Congress. Democrats opposed the amendment with the worry that this might lead to political interference. Eventually a compromise was made and the amendment would have required the Department of Justice to report to Congress in detail whenever the investigation and the results of such investigation ends, along with an explanation of the investigation results and the final prosecution decision. The Amendment would have also notified Congress whenever a special counsel is to be removed by the Attorney General. The amendment failed to pass.
The bill still faces an uphill battle for passage since Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, believes President Trump will not fire the Special Counsel.
Below are some of the highlights of Rep.Nadler’s comments regarding the legislation:
- “This important legislation builds-in protections for the Special Counsel investigation, and allows for judicial review to separate political interference from the carrying out of justice.”
- "Unfortunately, it seems Republican Leadership in the House lacks the spine to take a stand against President Trump’s abuse of power or defend our country from the constitutional crisis we would face if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were terminated or interfered with in any way.”
- "Earlier this week, after the FBI executed a search warrant on the offices of Michael Cohen, the President once again engaged in a disgraceful attack on the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel’s investigation, labeling it a “witch hunt” and saying “it’s an attack on our country in a true sense.” The President apparently thinks he is the State, and that an attack on him is an attack on the country. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The President, like everyone else, is subject to the law, and he should know that he will be held accountable to the law.”
- "Statements like these, reports that the President has considered numerous times over the past year firing Mueller, and threats from Congressional Republicans to “impeach” DOJ officials who refuse to cooperate in their conspiracy theories, are clear threats against the rule of law. They specifically—though, maybe indirectly—target Special Counsel Mueller, who is charged with investigating allegations of serious crimes against the United States and the American people.”
- “We expect that the Special Counsel will be permitted to complete his investigation, wherever it may lead, free from political interference, and that the facts will be presented for public review so that the American people can know the full truth. We hope Chairman Goodlatte and the House Leadership will finally put country above party, fulfill their constitutional duty and defend the rule of law, and not sit quietly and abide an assault on our justice system. That is why we wrote to Chairman Goodlatte this week to formally request that he markup legislation on this matter, and we hope that he will accede, or absent that, that other Republicans on the Committee will join with us in making a formal demand for markup pursuant to House Rules.”
- “Finally, I want to again state the obvious: Any move against Special Counsel Mueller, against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the Special Counsel’s office, or against Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is recused from such matters, would be completely unacceptable. If the President were to move in any way to undermine or interfere with the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation, it would appear to be the actions of someone who knows he is guilty of crimes and cannot withstand an honest investigation."
Senator Tillis (R-NC) , sponsor of S.1741, was involved in the compromise made with this legislation. Below are the highlights from Sen. Tillis' Press Conference:
- “I have received a good deal of criticism from some on the right for introducing special-counsel legislation, with the common refrain being that it is harmful to President Trump. It isn’t, for two main reasons. First, if the president actually removes the special counsel without good cause, it would likely result in swift, bipartisan backlash and shake the country’s faith in the integrity of our legal system. Talking heads and pundits on television encouraging the president to make such a drastic and counterproductive move most certainly do not have his best interests at heart. The result would not be good for the American people, the Republican Party or the president. Second, the constant headlines and rumors that Trump is considering or has considered removing Mueller, “fake news” or not, are a distraction from the president’s agenda and successful policy initiatives. While the president is understandably frustrated with the investigation, I don’t believe he would ultimately remove Mueller, and the White House and the president’s legal team have indicated that he does not intend to do so. This bill becoming law would remove that narrative from the conversation.”
- “As our bill advances, I hope congressional Democrats, particularly on the House side, will not react by sending fundraising emails or by running to the closest camera to shamelessly use this bipartisan bill — the result of compromise on both sides — to attack Republicans and advance a partisan agenda. They would be intentionally distorting the spirit and intent of the bill to raise campaign cash and score political points heading into November’s midterm elections. Shame on them if they do so, because they risk harming any chance of the bill becoming law. In fact, such tactics would raise the question of whether that was their intention in the first place, as the bill becoming law could take a political issue off the table for the midterms.”
- “The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act is about protecting the rule of law and producing an outcome that is good for our country. It’s not about producing an outcome for one political party. We will soon find out if both sides can agree on that.”
President Trump and the White House stated that the memos did not directly implicate him and that at a cost of $30M, the investigation has brought zero results.
“AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!,” President Trump wrote on Twitter.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press Secretary, who has questioned the integrity of the investigation multiple times, stated that the Manafort and Cohen court filings do not indicate anything regarding President Trump.
“The government’s filing in Mr. Manafort’s case says absolutely nothing about the President,” Press Secretary Sanders said.
President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, wrote on Twitter about the lack of evidence brought forward by the investigation. “Fake News coverage can’t change the reality that Mueller’s late Friday dump demonstrates yet again no evidence connected to President.”
It’s important to note that these court filings did not directly implicate President Trump but mentioned a so-called “Individual-1,” who many presume to be the President. According to multiple sources, “Individual-1” is mentioned more than 30 times in the prosecutor’s memos.
The court filings also indicate that prosecutors are linking President Trump to campaign finance crimes, although he is not being accused of any illegal activities. This is due to the payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Democrats are indicating that these include felony violations of campaign finance laws and that they are indeed “serious felonies.”
Is not only President Trump who seems to be a target. White House officials could be in trouble as well.
“Cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017-2018 time period,” the Robert Mueller’s team said.
Even though we do not have all the details yet, this seems to indicate White House officials could be targets in the investigation as well. Thanks to Cohen, we do have details that administration officials were planning to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and there were plans of giving Putin a $50M penthouse on the building. This can possible incriminate any administration official involved in the plans, including Vice President Pence.
The investigation is closing in, and could possible provide the legal groundwork for Democrats to back an impeachment process.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D), the incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has said that there needs to be sufficient evidence against President Trump for an impeachment to take place, citing a “three-part test.” First, having “real solid evidence” of impeachable offenses; second, whether the offenses are of “sufficient gravity” to justify a contentious national debate; and third, whether the evidence “is so sufficiently clear” that “an appreciable fraction of the opposition vote base will say, ‘They had to do this.’”
Historically, the watergate investigation took around 7 years to complete, from the moment a special counsel was appointed. For now, Mueller will continue his investigation.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act would set the terms behind the removal of a special council. The terms would notify Congress before any removal of a special counsel and, in case of an appeal, allow a court of three judges to review the removal.
Special Counsel Mueller is now in charge of the Russian probe investigation into the allegations that Russia interfered into the 2016 presidential elections and will possibly interfere with future elections.
Several Republican Senators have sponsored this legislation among several other similar bills already introduced in Congress. Most notably, Thom Tillis and Lindsey Graham, who have introduced legislation with the intent to protect the special counsel in the past, with little success.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act was introduced in April of 2018.
Sponsored by: Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]
Cosponsored by: 1 Rep / 2 Dem.
Sponsored by: Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10]
Cosponsored by: 2 Rep / 124 Dem.