Speaker of the House Paul Ryan doesn’t think Congress needs to pass a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from the possibility that the president fires him.
“It’s completely unnecessary,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday at the Capitol. “I don’t think he’s going to fire him. I don’t think he should. I don’t think it’s in his interest to do so.”
Ryan has repeatedly said Mueller is safe and that he does not believe the president would fire him, like he did former FBI director James Comey.
“I received assurances that his [Mueller’s] firing is not even under consideration,” Ryan said in late March. “We have a system based upon the rule of law in this country, we have a justice system, and no one is above that justice system.”
The president reportedly decided to fire Mueller in January but receded his decision when the White House counsel threatened to step down if he went through with it.
Republican leadership in the House and Senate remain united behind the idea that firing Mueller is a politically risky move. Leadership also believes Mueller should be able to conduct his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election without interference or obstruction.
Not everyone is convinced that Mueller is completely safe and the concern does not solely rest with Democrats.
GOP Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, along with Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey, are pushing a bill that would grant the special counsel a 10-day window to fight a potential termination from the administration.
Tillis argues that the bill would not only be beneficial for Republicans, who Democrats are painting as unwilling to uphold the rule of law and help protect Mueller from the wrath of the president, but would help future presidents protections who were under investigation. Essentially, Tillis believes the bill is philosophically beneficial for both sides of the aisle.
House Republicans are pushing an identical bill to Tillis’s. GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who abruptly announced his retirement Tuesday, introduced a version of the bill Friday. GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania signed on as a cosponsor Monday.
GOP Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina signed on as cosponsor last week to a similar bill floated by Democrats.
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