President Trump fired the only man protecting the Mueller investigation this week. Now outgoing U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) wants a Senate vote on a bill defending the inquiry.
“We’ve passed this out of committee on a bipartisan basis eight months ago and now it’s time to have a floor vote on it,” Flake told Grit Post. “I think the firing of Jeff Sessions and the uncertainty about the Mueller investigation warrants its passage.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a mixed bag with most Americans. As an accused racist, Sessions was intent on rolling back voter protections and marijuana legalization. However, he was also the only thing blocking Trump’s desire to quash the probe into his misdeeds. To Trump’s fury, Sessions removed himself from overseeing Mueller’s work, leaving the president vulnerable to investigation. So it was with equally-mixed feelings that America bid Sessions farewell hours after Democrats reclaimed the House majority.
Trump did not hesitate to replace Sessions with a lackey who has happily assumed control of the investigation, and could easily steer it, defund it, or shut it down. There is reason to suspect Justice Department chief of staff Matthew Whitaker’s promotion to acting attorney general could undermine the inquiry. Whitaker has openly proposed methods to defund or sabotage it in the months leading up to his promotion.
With Whitaker sharpening an ax, Flake and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) have declared they will push for a floor vote. Flake said he thinks the bill has a fair chance for passage, even in a Senate dominated by Republicans more known for defending their GOP president.
“If it comes to a vote, it’s prospects are good. I think it has near universal Democratic support, and it passed out of committee with four Republicans voting for it, so I would assume there is sufficient support in the Senate to pass it,” Flake said.
The outgoing senator and his comrades will have to get the bill around rabidly protectionist Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky) who has admitted that he has no intention of passing the bill and protecting the investigation. He told reporters back in April, as the bill left committee that “We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate.”
The final version of Flake’s bill let’s any special counsel fired by the AG or a high-level leader challenge the dismissal in U.S. District Court. The bill also guards documents accrued by the special counsel’s investigation.