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
GOP leaders are pressuring Kansas Republican to resign from Congress immediately: report
On Thursday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Republicans in Kansas and Washington are pressuring Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) to step down after just eight months in office.
It is currently unclear why they are calling for his resignation.
Watkins has thus far given no indications he will leave office. His spokesman Jim Joice stated that he has no plans to resign, and disputed the idea that Republican officials are pressuring him to do so, but acknowledged there have been conversations around the topic.
LAX customs officer calls journalist ‘fake news’ and demands to know if he works for CNN or MSNBC: report
On Thursday, Empire Magazine's James Dyer stated in a Twitter thread that he was stopped by a customs official while arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, aggressively interrogated about his journalistic career, and accused of being "fake news":
Wow. Just... wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent and accused of being part of the ‘fake news media’.
— James Dyer (@jamescdyer) August 22, 2019
‘He does not belong in this office’: Ron Reagan says Trump ‘has been crazy because he is crazy’
The son of Republican President Ronald Reagan blasted President Donald Trump on MSNBC on Tuesday.
Ron Reagan, Jr. was interviewed on "Hardball" by Chris Matthews.
The host recounted Trump's attacks on Denmark after they said Greenland was not for sale.
"He wants to fight with everybody, including the quiet, American-loving Danes. What’s up?" Matthews asked.
"Well, it’s craziness, but I take a little umbrage at this idea that we have to ascribe it to something like the economy or his anxiousness about re-election. He’s acting the way he’s acting because he is who he is and what he is," Reagan replied.