For months, Donald Trump has floated the idea of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Despite Trump’s threats, Republican congressional leaders repeatedly blocked legislation protecting Mueller. Now, House Democrats and a bipartisan group of senators have reintroduced bills to protect the special counsel. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s anticipated departure and William Barr’s attorney general nomination make these protective bills more critical than ever.
Rod Rosenstein directly oversaw the Mueller probe under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from an oversight role due to close Trump campaign ties. Rosenstein stopped direct oversight of Mueller when acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker replaced Sessions in November 2018. However, Rosenstein has remained involved in overseeing Mueller’s probe. To make matters worse, Whitaker’s likely replacement, William Barr, has openly condemned Mueller’s investigation. In June 2018, Barr even sent the Department of Justice an unsolicited memo calling Mueller’s work “fatally misconceived.”
Congress must act to pass commonsense legislation defending Mueller’s special counsel investigation.