Congress Democrats on Friday demanded that lawmakers act to protect Special Advisor Robert S. Mueller III after revelations that President Trump tried to overthrow him last summer in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Several Democrats and a Moderator The Republican called for votes in Senate legislation that would prevent presidents from issuing special councils unless a panel of three federal judges accepted the measure, citing revelations that Trump was about to expel Mueller last June. The president backed down only after White House aide Donald F. McGahn threatened to resign, according to two people familiar with the episode.
Republican leaders do not show a new urgency to address the issue, saying that the president's threats are isolated and in the past
"If these last reports are true, it seems to me that they show that the president heard good advice of its advisors, "Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over any special advisory bill, said Friday. "Based on his statements of the last two weeks, he and his attorneys seem to be cooperating with Mueller."
Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) and Thom Tillis (RN.C.), in response to rumors in the summer that Trump could fire Mueller, each advanced legislation that would involve a panel of federal judges in any decision to end a lawyer's mandate. The Graham bill, co-authored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-New York) and other Democrats, would require a panel of three judges to approve a presidential order to fire a special lawyer. The Tillis bill, written with Senator Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Would allow a special dismissed attorney to appeal the president's decision before a panel of judges, to avoid trampling on the executive authority of the president.
Legislators so far have not been able to reconcile the two bills and satisfy Grassley, who says he has "constitutional concerns" with the legislation and will address a single bill on the committee.
Moderate Republican Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania) predicted that the news McGahn "avoided a moment of Archibald Cox," a reference to the prosecutor whose dismissal President Richard Nixon ordered during the Watergate scandal, would increase the pressure to "protect Mueller " But Republicans remain imperturbable even when the president is expected to be interviewed by Mueller's team.
"The timeline is critical here," Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin said Friday, noting that Trump tried to fire Mueller in June and the bills were filed in Augu. S t. Since his presentation, Keylin said, "the talk that the administration is considering the removal of a special attorney Mueller has come to a complete stop."
Democrats, frustrated by what they see as a recalcitrant Republican, openly accuse the Republican Party of instigating a total assault against the special attorney and federal agencies charged with making comply with the law that assist you.
"Republicans in Congress have been co-opted to participate and amplify these attacks" against the Department of Justice and the FBI, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY), the highest ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The Republican Party, he added, is complicit in "simulated investigations" of Trump's former political opponent, Hillary Clinton, to distract investigations into alleged ties between the president and Russia.
Republican lawmakers are examining how the FBI and the Justice Department handled their use of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was a secretary of state. They also question the veracity of a now famous dossier, funded in part by the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which suggested that Trump had personal and financial ties to the Kremlin. On Friday afternoon, Grassley and Graham sent letters to both Democratic organizations and their senior officials demanding information and documents on how the file was compiled.
Republicans say that their scrutiny is appropriate and does not undermine Mueller's investigation.
This week's revelations Trump's attempt to expel Mueller, first reported by the New York Times, occurs when the special lawyer has been deepening his investigation into possible obstruction of justice, according to people who have interacted with your team. When asked about the report on Friday at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump declared it "false news".
It would be natural for Mueller to investigate an attempt to overthrow him as a special lawyer, said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute criminal justice think tank, who was a member of the team led by independent lawyer Kenneth W. Starr. who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Cases of obstruction of justice revolve around motives, he said. To prove a criminal case, a prosecutor must show that a defendant took action to interrupt a criminal investigation with a corrupt motive, usually to hide criminal activities. Rosenzweig said Mueller could use Trump's attempt to remove the special lawyer as part of a case of obstruction, particularly if it appeared that the reasons Trump tried to cite were a pretext to stop the investigation.
"One way to analyze it is to assess the strength or weakness of the stated reasons for firing it, if they, in the reflection, seem moderately legitimate, well, the president should fire someone who has a conflict of interest." On the other hand, Rosenzweig said, if the reasons were "pretextual", a case of obstruction would have more merit. "It would seem more in the nature of a conscious." . . effort to thwart an investigation of [the president’s] own misconduct, "he said.
Rosenzweig said the whole issue could be moot, however, since Mueller is likely to feel compelled by the legal findings of the Justice Department. that the president can not be criminally accused, instead, Mueller could present a full report of Trump's actions in a report to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who would have to decide whether to make the report public or pass it on to Congress. for Congress to decide whether to initiate impeachment procedures and what legal rules would govern if the president had committed imputable crimes.
Democratic leaders in Congress have refrained from debating whether they should try to remove Trump, which would first require Democrats to take over the majority in the house, those involved in negotiations on bills to protect the special lawyer, including Coons and Booker, say they only want one vote.
The authors of the bill agree that circumventing the separation of powers concerns requires a delay of 10 days before any presidential order to fire the special council would take effect. At that time, a special lawyer dismissed could fight the decision before a panel of judges. But the senators remained concerned that a court could act unilaterally to extend that timeline, preventing a president with legitimate complaints from acting quickly.
Democrats, for now, seem less concerned about the autonomy of future presidents than verifying Trump vis-à-vis Mueller.
"If he says goodbye to Bob Mueller," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) In the Senate Judiciary Committee, "I hope Congress does not accept it and will take action."  Rosalind Helderman contributed to this report.