A bipartisan bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller will not see the light of day, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Kentucky Republican maintains that Mueller is in no danger of firing, rendering the measure unnecessary.
But the two Republican senators who joined two Democrats in sponsoring the bill disagree; one lawmaker -- Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina -- went so far as to accuse fellow Republicans of playing partisan politics with the issue.
Tillis told POLITICO Monday that members of the GOP would be backing his bill if it was Hillary Clinton in office rather than President Donald Trump.
But McConnell isn’t budging.
Republican senator Thom Tillis has taken the risky step of endorsing a bill to safeguard Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump. But the risk was for naught, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not allow any such bill to come to the Senate floor.
McConnell argues, as he has in the past, that such a bill is “unnecessary” because there is “no indication” Trump would fire the special counsel.
“No indication” that Trump would fire Mueller is a curious way to describe the president’s stance toward the special counsel.
Reports have surfaced that Trump at least considered the option of removing Mueller on two occasions; and, most recently, the president floated the possibility of ending Mueller’s tenure after his personal attorney’s office and hotel room were raided by the FBI.
“Why don’t I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it’s a disgrace, what’s going on. We’ll see what happens...Again, they found nothing,” Trump told reporters.
As McConnell has remained steadfast in his opposition to protecting the special counsel, he also has remained tight-lipped about how he would respond if Trump were to fire Mueller.
When asked the question last week the Republican leader reiterated his stance that “ Mueller should be allowed to finish his job”, adding, “I think that's the view of most people in Congress”, but provided no additional information.
Drawing a parallel with McConnell’s lackluster response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, New York Magazine concludes that his inaction is tantamount to approval:
McConnell of course sat in a high-level briefing detailing Russian interference in the election. The Obama administration proposed leaders of both parties close ranks and issue a bipartisan statement warning Russia not to interfere in the election. McConnell reportedly cast doubts on the intelligence and said he would consider any statement about Russian interference to be a partisan effort by Obama to help his party win.
When McConnell refuses to act because he says he doesn’t think a threat is real, it means he is happy to let the threat be carried out.