WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), this week will re-introduce the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
The legislation would protect Special Counsels from inappropriate removal or political pressure. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last Congress with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 14-7.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act:
Codifies existing Department of Justice regulations to ensure that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause by a senior Justice Department official, and the reason must be provided in writing.
Provides the Special Counsel a 10-day window in which he can seek expedited judicial review of his removal to determine whether the firing was for good cause. If the firing is ultimately determined to have violated the good-cause requirement, the removal will not take effect.
Preserves the staffing, documents, and materials of the investigation while the matter is pending.
“One of the core principles of our justice system is that nobody is above the law,” said Senator Booker. “Our bipartisan bill defends that fundamental principle by protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and future special counsels, from political interference. It’s a common-sense, bipartisan bill that provides the appropriate and necessary checks and balances on Presidential power in order to avoid a constitutional crisis.”
“I have every confidence Mr. Mueller will be allowed to finish the job. However, there needs to be institutional protections for special counsels both now and in the future. Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a special counsel to make sure it’s done for the reasons cited in the regulation rather than political motivation. I think this will serve the country well. I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues on this legislation,” said Senator Graham.
“This is a time when Republicans and Democrats need to stand up and protect the rule of law in this country,” said Senator Coons. “This bipartisan bill is the best way to ensure that Special Counsel Mueller, and future special counsels, can complete their work without interference, and to make clear that no one is above the law.”
“When we introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act last year, I stated that I do not believe President Trump intends to remove Special Counsel Robert Mueller. I still believe that is true. However, I also believe this bipartisan legislation is good government policy with enduring value across the current and future Administrations,” said Senator Tillis. “This bill’s protections will help ensure that our Justice Department will have the independence it needs to conduct fair and impartial investigations with appropriate reporting to Congress. This will, in turn, reaffirm the American people’s confidence in our nation’s rule of law and the principle that no one is above the law. We were able to build a bipartisan base of support for this legislation last year, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to build the additional support required to advance it through the Senate.”