August 3, 2017

Quick Takes (v20): Protecting Mueller

Quick Takes
Word broke at some point today, can't remember if it was before or after my day job, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has gotten himself a grand jury and is beginning to issue subpoenas in the Trump investigations.

According to the article linked above, Cornell law professor Jens David Ohlin noted that
While grand juries hear evidence and sometimes decline to hand up indictments, it now looks unlikely that Mueller will "simply submit a report to Congress and allow the political process to digest his findings. This is a criminal investigation in the fullest sense of the term."
We've heard a number of stories that Trump and his team are looking to discredit Mueller; and they've supposedly been looking into pardon rules. The thinking was that Trump maybe proactively pardon certain close associates (Jared, Donny and who knows who else) or maybe even pardon himself.

The president is having a "love me" fest in West byGod Virginia tonight, so we may not hear his take on the subpoenas until early tomorrow morning. But we did hear from Senate Republicans today, in a way I'm sure will antagonize Trump.

Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee - Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat Chris Coons - are introducing a bill to protect the Mueller investigation from interference.  Their bill, which would be effective retroactively to the date Mueller was appointed,
would take the decision to fire a special counsel out of the hands of the president, granting authority only to the most senior Department of Justice official heading the would allow a fired special counsel to challenge their removal in front of a panel of federal judges - with a guarantee that the case would be heard within two weeks. 
Separately, another group of senators including Republican Lindsey Graham and Dems Cory Booker, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Trump punching bag Richard Blumenthal, put up a bill that would allow for judicial review if a special counsel was fired by the President, protect a special counsel from "intimidation" and ensure any special counsel can only be removed for "legitimate reasons instead of political motivations" after petitioning a federal court to establish the reasons (misconduct, dereliction of duty, conflict of interest or other good cause).

Lest there were any remaining concerns that a Republican House and Republican Senate would coalesce around this Republican president, after Comey, and after health care, and after Russia sanctions, and now this -  I think we can put those to rest.

For Senators to work across the aisle to protect Mueller, when their leadership won't allow them to work across the aisle to protect, you know, millions of Americans, I think what we have here is a golden opportunity.

I hope I'm not disappointed.

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