Tags: Russia | Trump Administration | coons | congress | mueller | protection | bill

Coons: Congress Can Override Veto on Mueller Protection Bill

(CNN's "Smerconish)

By    |   Saturday, 05 Aug 2017 11:27 AM

Bipartisan legislation was presented before Congress' summer recess to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, to ensure that there was a review mechanism to protect him and to allow for his reinstatement should President Donald Trump take action against the former FBI director, Sen. Chris Coons said Saturday.

"The reasons that Sen. [Thom] Tillis and I introduced the bill before we went out for August was to make sure that there had been legislative action on a bipartisan basis to shore up the fact that there isn't currently in place a review mechanism either to block the special counsel or allow for his reinstatement," the Delaware Democrat told CNN's Michael Smerconish Saturday. "Sen. [Cory] Booker introduced a bill to keep the special counsel from being fired."

When asked if there is any likelihood that the bill will get passed or that Trump will sign it, Coons referred to the president's decision to sign a bipartisan Russia sanctions bill.

"I'll remind you that in signing that bill last week, President Trump didn't attack Russia for having interfered in our 2016 election," Coons said. "Instead, he criticized the Congress. That bill came out of the Senate 97-1. So, I think it is possible that the widespread concern that special counsel Mueller has the independence, has the opportunity to complete this investigation will lead to this bill being taken out."

Coons said he spoke with Tillis Saturday morning, and both have reached out to colleagues and have gotten support, but Smerconish pointed out that Trump will be asked to sign away his right to fire Mueller.

"There is something called a veto override," said Coons. "I think the reason the president signed that Russia sanctions bill was because it was clear at the time, given the numbers that he'd be humiliated by having his veto overridden if he had tried to veto it. It might be the same case with this, we don't know yet."

It is important, though, that Mueller can continue his investigation "without interference or harassment by the president."

The fact that Mueller has appointed a grand jury makes it harder to continue saying the Russian investigation is nothing but fake news, Coons continued.

"It's just ordinary course of business for a federal investigation, but the president and folks around him must be much more nervous now," said Coons. "It is in the hands of a skilled senior federal prosecutor like Bob Mueller and his significantly skilled team, [and] a federal grand jury is a powerful tool."

The grand jury can subpoena documents, interview witness under oath, and can also issue indictments, so the appointments signal the investigation has entered its next phase, Coons continued.

"It does show that it's serious and [shows] the likelihood that there will would be swift bipartisan pushback in the United States Senate if the president were to abruptly fire Bob Mueller without cause," said Coons.

Meanwhile, the average American is interested in jobs and the economy, and knowing lawmakers can work together, and Democrats are worried that the Trump administration is continuing to fill judicial vacancies and continues to advance "one of the most conservative agendas we've seen since the 1920s" without being impeded.

"We've got very difficult and important things going on in Washington," said Coons. "I'll remind you Justice Neil Gorsuch will sit on the Supreme Court likely for the rest of my adult life, and there are hundreds of other positioning moving forward under this administration and they're taking initiative, in immigration, in foreign policy, in health care, in tax policy that are well worth our being engaged and pushing back again."

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Bipartisan legislation was presented before Congress' summer recess to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired to ensure that there was a review mechanism to protect him and to allow for his reinstatement should President Donald Trump take action against the...
coons, congress, mueller, protection, bill
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2017-27-05
Saturday, 05 Aug 2017 11:27 AM
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