Wednesday, October 11, 2017
After President Donald Trump publicly toyed with the idea of firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller III this summer, a bipartisan group of senators introduced two bills that would shield Mueller from being dismissed. Trump has been quiet on the question of Mueller's investigation as of late. But the Senate Judiciary Committee recently sent a strong signal to Trump, holding a hearing Sept. 26 on the legislation that showed bipartisan support for protecting the special counsel.
These bills aren't just an exercise in Democratic opposition to a Republican president. Each is sponsored by a bipartisan pair of senators and has received support from both sides of the aisle during the committee's hearing. While committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, held back from endorsing the legislation, he made clear his view that "there is a robust role for Congress in overseeing the Executive Branch."
Despite the committee's approval, it's not clear whether either bill will make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. It's also not clear whether either would receive enough votes to become law--let alone override a likely presidential veto.
But Trump shouldn't take any comfort in doubts over the wisdom or constitutionality of the legislation. Whether or not either bill goes forward, the Judiciary Committee's sober hearing was a warning shot, signaling that Trump cannot expect to trample over the constitutional order without a response from Congress.
Editorial on 10/11/2017
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