Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he opposes a White House attempt to cancel billions of dollars in federal spending from last month's 2018 appropriations bill, likely dooming the effort.
Speaking with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, McConnell said that such a measure is "not necessary" - despite an increasing bipartisan push to bring such legislation forward.
The president has recently stepped up his public and private criticism of DOJ officials and the Russian Federation probe, lashing out at Mueller on Twitter and openly musing to reporters about firing the special counsel in a meeting last week, saying "many people" are telling him to sack Mueller, adding, "We'll see what happens". As McConnell noted in the Fox interview, it is within his power as Senate majority leader to control what bills come to the floor - and what bills don't.
And even if the bill does pass both the House and the Senate, it would still need President Donald Trump's signature to become law - something McConnell has said is unlikely.
As for McConnell's decision not to bring it up on the floor, Grassley said Senate Democrats are using procedural tactics to eat up floor time, such as delaying noncontroversial judicial nominations.
Despite that, McConnell has said he does not believe the president will fire Mueller.
Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor.
"If we go down and we pass it out of the committee and make it a lot of political theater, it's going to go nowhere", Tillis said. Nevertheless, when the bipartisan quartet of senators behind the measures struck a compromise deal last week, Grassley was quick to promise their bill time in the Judiciary Committee - and even proposed an amendment of his own to give Congress an additional backup option to better review an order to fire a special counsel, even if the courts strike down the specific judicial-review procedure outlined in the measure. As one of my astute Twitter followers pointed out, the majority leader's stance is akin to refusing to buy vehicle insurance because you have no plans to get into an auto accident anytime in the future.
Let's cut through all this: Republicans are petrified of provoking Trump ("the bear"), whom they treat as their supervisor and not as an equal branch of government. The public gets that - literally hundreds of thousands have pledged to hit the streets if Trump makes a move on Mueller or the deputy attorney general overseeing him, Rod Rosenstein.
All four senators serve on the judiciary committee. "What I don't trust are future presidents that I don't know yet", he said. "He was involved in the negotiation and signed the bill", McConnell told Cavuto.
Democrats said Republicans opposed to the legislation were simply protecting Trump.
"Obviously, the majority leader's views are important to consider, but they do not govern what happens here in the Judiciary Committee", he said at a committee meeting Thursday.
"In early December, President Trump, furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller's investigation had to be shut down".
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