Reminder: 2 Bipartisan Efforts To Protect Mueller From Being Fired
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Some of our readers have been writing in asking the question of “Could President Trump fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel leading the investigation into Trump’s campaign ties to and possible collusion with Russia?” This also has been asked over and over again via various news media networks. So, allow me to remind and share with you two bipartisan bills that was introduced back in August of 2017.
- Back in August of 2017, the Republican Senator of North Carolina, Thom Tillis, and Democratic Senator of Delaware, Chris Coons, have introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act, a bipartisan legislation that supports the integrity of independent investigations by allowing judicial review if a special counsel is removed. It enables any special counsel to challenge the firing. The fired special counsel would have the right to contest the administration’s decision in court.
- A week after the introduction of the Special Counsel Integrity Act, another bipartisan bill, Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, was introduced by the Republican Senator of South Carolina, Lindsey O. Graham and Democratic Senator of New Jersey, Cory Booker, with backing from Judiciary Committee Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, requiring the judges panel to review any attorney general’s decision to fire a special counsel before that firing could take effect.
*In the Tillis-Coons’ scenario, if the special counsel is fired, the judges panel under Graham-Booker’s recommendation would have two weeks from the day the special counsel’s case is filed to complete their review and determine whether the termination was acceptable.
Below is the press release on Aug. 3, 2017, from Senator Thom Tillis’ office, in italics:
Tillis-Coons Legislation Would Create A Judicial Review Process To Prevent The Removal Of Special Counsels Without Good Cause
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act, bipartisan legislation that supports the integrity of independent investigations by allowing judicial review if a special counsel is removed.
In the event that a special counsel is removed, the Tillis-Coons legislation allows the special counsel to challenge the removal in court, which would be heard and determined by a panel of 3 federal judges within 14 days of the filing of the action. The panel of judges would determine whether or not there was good cause for the removal of the special counsel. In the event that the panel of judges finds there was no good cause for the removal, the individual would be immediately reinstated as special counsel.
Other provisions of the Special Counsel Integrity Act:
- Codifies existing Department of Justice regulations that a special counsel appointed by the department may only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, like a violation of departmental policies. The Department of Justice must inform the special counsel in writing as to the reason for their removal.
- Ensures that a special counsel appointed by the Department of Justice 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 official who has been confirmed by the Senate and is not recused from the matter.
- Provides that the legislation is retroactively effective as of May 17, 2017, and applies to any special counsel appointed or after that date.
“It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations,” said Senator Tillis. “A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation’s system of checks and balances.”
“Our constitutional order depends on a system of checks and balances, grounded in the fundamental premise that no one is above the law,” said Senator Coons. “Ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation. I am proud to partner with Senator Tillis on this bipartisan bill to safeguard our democracy.”
It is to every one’s interest that Robert S. Mueller will be able to complete his investigation into Trump’s campaign ties to and possible collusion with Russia thoroughly and carefully.
To prevent potential constitutional crisis, we can all contact our legislators to ask them to expedite the passing of the bill that protects the integrity and independence of any special counsel.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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