Republicans Say They Support Mueller But Won’t Back It Up With Legislation


Republican lawmakers spoke out this weekend in support of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation after Trump’s latest Twitter tantrum, but when it comes to supporting legislation to protect him and the probe, they are notably scarce.

Trump openly attacked Mueller by name on Saturday night on Twitter in what would be the first salvo against the investigation after firing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

He then followed up with an attack on Sunday accusing Mueller of bias.

Multiple Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), condemned the attack during an appearance on CNN that same morning and made it clear that firing Mueller would be a red line.

“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” Graham said. “The only reason that Mr. Mueller could be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller…I pledge to the American people, as a Republican, to make sure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference.”

Graham’s pledge, however, is worthless without concrete action such as passing legislation to shield the investigation from Trump’s efforts to undermine it, which Trump continued to do on Monday morning.

Unfortunately, most Republicans are unwilling to back two bills that already exist to restrain Trump.

According to The Washington Post:

When asked if Graham’s words meant there would be any new urgency to take up the measures to protect the special counsel, Graham’s spokesman said he was “not expecting any change.”

Congressional Republican leaders also dodged direct questions Sunday about the fate of the bills in light of the president’s twitter tirade.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) never furnished a comment, while House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) spokeswoman AshLee Strong simply noted that “as the speaker has always said, Mr. Mueller and his team should be able to do their job.”

This suggests that Republicans are not as serious about protecting Mueller as they claim to be.

Both bills have bipartisan support and would require Trump to have a valid reason to fire Mueller, which would be assessed by a federal panel of judges. In short, Trump would have to prove that Mueller is biased against him to fire him. So, the legislation would make his effort to kill the investigation more complicated because he would end up exposing himself if he tried to do so with a made up excuse.

By not passing one of these bills, Republicans’ words have no teeth against a president who is determined to make sure he is above the law.

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