Congressional plans to make it tougher to fire special counsel Robert Mueller will get a hearing later this month in the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Sen. Thom Tillis, a key sponsor of the effort.
President Donald Trump has reportedly considered firing Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s involvement with the 2016 election and potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The Special Counsel Integrity Act, sponsored by Tillis, R-N.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., would allow a fired special counsel to have his dismissal reviewed by a three-judge panel, which could overturn the firing if it was not for misconduct, dereliction of duty, conflict of interest or other good cause.
It would apply to any special counsel appointed on or after May 17, the day Mueller was named.
“We don’t want to restrict the administration’s authority or the Department of Justice from removing a counsel. We just want to make sure to the American people that they can be convinced it was done for the right reasons,” Tillis said on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace in August.
The Tillis-Coons bill is one of two that has been introduced to protect Mueller.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, which would require Justice Department officials to go to a judicial panel before firing the special counsel.
“There’s a hearing scheduled the week after next,” Tillis told McClatchy this week. “That’s when we’ll start talking about the two bills that are out there.” The hearing is expected to held the week of Sept. 25.
Tillis, Graham and Coons are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency unless Mueller did something wrong,” Graham told reporters in August.
Brian Murphy: 202.383.6089; @MurphinDC