Two U.S. senators, defying opposition from top Republicans, vowed on Wednesday to push for action on a bipartisan measure that would protect a federal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democratic Senator Chris Coons said they would take to the Senate floor at around 4:15 p.m. EST, to ask for their colleagues’ consent to allow a vote that could anger President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly dismissed the federal probe as a “witch hunt.”
But the move was unlikely to succeed. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is firmly against the idea of voting on a measure to protect the investigation, according to an aide.
Another party leader, Senate Republican whip John Cornyn, has said he favors an alternative measure that would simply put the Senate on record as backing the leader of the probe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The effort by Flake and Coons comes a week after Trump set off alarm bells among Democrats and some Republicans by forcing the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with Sessions’ former chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist who has criticized the investigation.
Critics of the appointment say Whitaker could fire Mueller or undermine the investigation in some other way.
Flake, who is retiring from the Senate, and Coons want lawmakers to vote on a measure known as the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which would ensure that Mueller could be fired only for good cause and provide him with recourse to challenge any dismissal in federal court.
The legislation, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved in a 14-7 vote in April, is supported by the panel’s chairman Chuck Grassley and another prominent Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham.
Democrats have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. The Justice Department said on Monday night that Whitaker would consult with ethics officials about any matters that could require him to recuse himself.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Andrea Ricci
Kurds targeted in Turkish attack include thousands of female fighters who battled Islamic State
Kurdish fighters under attack by Turkey have described President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as a “stab in the back.”
Since bombing began on Oct. 9, Turkish military operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria, Washington’s staunchest and most effective allies in the war against the Islamic State, has killed at least 11 civilians and an unconfirmed number of Kurdish fighters, with estimates ranging from dozens to hundreds.
GOP lawmaker flails wildly after CNN’s Poppy Harlow calls him out for excusing Trump’s Syria debacle
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) on Monday flailed wildly after CNN's Poppy Harlow called him out for defending President Donald Trump's decision to abandon America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria.
Harlow began her interview with Burgess by reading reports showing the situation in northern Syria quickly turning into a humanitarian catastrophe that could be linked directly to Trump's decision to give Turkey the green light to invade the area.
Burgess responded by blaming Congress.
"Well, what I will tell you is this was a very poor time for Congress to be out of town for two weeks," he said.
A visibly disgusted Morning Joe rips into ‘stupid’ Trump for ‘cheering on’ Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria
Reacting to the news about the slaughter of Kurds in Syria by Turkish forces that is the direct result of Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said the president's claim that things are going well show he is either "lying or stupid."
The Morning Joe host could barely get his words out as he harshly criticized the president for empowering ISIS -- who have joined in the fight along with elements of Al Qaeda -- after he claimed that he had defeated them.
Noting the president is expected to issue a statement on the turmoil, Scarborough ranted, "The president, who is lying or stupid, will give us some insight on that later on today when he says the Turks and the Kurds are fighting and we shouldn't get in the middle of it."