Maine Senator Susan Collins said she will not support using Senate processes to push through fellow Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller, indicating she is unwilling to risk a government shutdown if the measure is attached to a “must-pass” spending bill.
The Maine Beacon reported on Friday that Collins said she would prefer the measure be considered on its own on the Senate floor — a move Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked.
> “I’d rather it be considered separately on the Senate floor,” Collins told Sahil Kapur, a political reporter for Bloomberg, in response to Democrats’ intent to attach the special counsel bill to another “must-pass” spending bill. “I don’t want anything that could lead to a shutdown.”
> Alongside Democrat Sen. Chris Coons, Flake had requested to bring the protection bill — dubbed the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act and designed to guardrail the Mueller investigation from President Donald Trump’s potential interference — to the Senate floor for debate and a vote on Wednesday. His request was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
After McConnell’s move, Flake said he will stall judicial nominations until the bill receives a vote.
> “When you have the attorney general fired, and the oversight for the investigation moved to someone who has not received Senate confirmation, who has expressed open hostility to the Mueller investigation, there’s a problem,” Flake said following McConnell’s decision to not bring the “languishing” bill to the floor.
McConnell has maintained there is no reason to believe the Mueller investigation is in danger.