Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the incoming House Judiciary Chairman, is expected to re-introduce a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller on the same day the 116th Congress is sworn in, according to a report.
CNN, citing two sources with knowledge of the legislation, reports Nadler’s bill would equip Mueller and future special counsels with recourse to “challenge any firings in the court system. The New York Democrat previously brought forth similar legislation as a companion measure to Senate legislation, however, the pair of bills were never voted on.
In December, Republican leadership blocked legislation taken up by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that would have protected Mueller, prompting the retiring lawmaker to announce his opposition to all judicial nominees until the bill was voted on. “I have informed the majority leader I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor until … [the bill] is brought to the full Senate for a vote,” Flake said at the time in a Senate floor speech.
Nadler has also voiced concerns over the role of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in overseeing the Russia probe, reiterating his pledge to bring the Justice Department official before Congress to testify.
In an interview with USA Today, the longtime lawmaker said his first act as chairman will be to ensure Whitaker briefs the panel on what measures he has taken to “protect” Mueller and his investigation. “We will, if we have to subpoena him and we will ask him, basically, about protecting the Mueller investigation,” Nadler told the newspaper.
In November, Nadler made a similar vow in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Our very first witness after January 3, we will subpoena, or we will summon, if necessary subpoena, Mr. Whitaker,” Nadler said. “Well, the questions we will ask him will be about his expressed hostility to the investigation,” he continued. “How he can possibly supervise it when he’s expressed, when he’s come out and said that the investigation is invalid.”