Following Renewed Fears that President Trump Will Fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, Ranking Member Nadler Demands Chairman Goodlatte and Speaker Ryan Bring Bipartisan Legislation Forward to Protect Special Counsel Mueller Investigation.
Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, called for an immediate vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act in order to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation from being improperly interfered with or subverted entirely. Recent reports that President Donald Trump may attempt to fire or force-out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein make it clearer than ever that the House Judiciary Committee needs to immediately take up the bipartisan, bicameral legislation. With the refusal by Chairman Goodlatte and Republican Leadership to bring the bill forward for a vote, House Judiciary Democrats are formally pursuing House Rule XI, Clause 2(c)(2), which would force the Committee to hold a special meeting to consider the legislation. With the support of all House Judiciary Committee Democrats, forcing a vote only requires three additional committee members to sign on in order to obtain the necessary majority to employ the Rule.
“The last thing our nation needs is a slow motion Saturday Night massacre, by which the President engineers the firing of Justice Department officials charged with supervising the Special Counsel investigation,” said Ranking Member Nadler. “Such wholesale firings would be a serious escalation in the case for obstruction of justice, and could well be a prelude to the firing of Special Counsel Mueller. Congress must take-up its constitutional duty to provide a check to executive power – particularly when it seems such powers are in danger of being abused. Members in the Majority have told us that they want Special Counsel Mueller to be able to complete his inquiry unimpeded, and so I call on my Republican colleagues to formally support this effort to advance the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. We are now at a point where Members need to put our nation’s interests first and join this bipartisan effort to send a strong signal to the President and the American public about the importance of the rule of law.”
H.R. 5476 is bipartisan legislation that has 126 cosponsors and is identical to H.R. 5505, a bill originally introduced by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) that has ten cosponsors, five of whom are Republicans. The Senate counterpart to H.R. 5476, S. 2644, was introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2018 by a vote of 14 to 7. House Rule XI, Clause 2(c)(2), dates from 1931 reforms designed to limit the ability of House and Committee leadership to ignore the will of the Members. Now that Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has resigned, there are only 39 sitting Members on the House Judiciary Committee, meaning that only 20 Members need to sign the notice to force a markup.