This bill would prevent the executive branch (including the president) from firing a special counsel unless a panel of three federal judges finds cause for their removal. If the executive branch wants to fire a special counsel, the Attorney General would be required to file an action in U.S. District Court for D.C. and notify Congress’s judicial committees. If the panel of judges find misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or violations of Dept. of Justice policies the special counsel could be removed. Appeals would go to the Supreme Court.
What is Senate Bill S. 1735?
Cost of Senate Bill S. 1735
In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced this bill to ensure that any action by the DOJ to fire a special counsel must first be reviewed by a panel of federal judges:
“Checks and balances have served the country well for the past two hundred years. Our legislation would allow judicial review of the firing of any special counsel that was impaneled to look at the President or their team – regardless of party. I think this is a good check and balance, both for today and in the future. We should all be interested in making sure that special counsels have oversight. Special counsels must act within boundaries, but they must also be protected. 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.”
Lead cosponsor Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) added:
“A special counsel's duty is to follow the facts and the law wherever that leads. They should never be subjected to interference or intimidation because of where an investigation takes them. This bill would subject any decision to fire a special counsel to a review by a panel of federal judges, ensuring any removal is for legitimate reasons instead of political motivations.”
President Donald Trump has called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference a “witch hunt” and alleged that members of his investigatory team are “biased” because several of them have made campaign donations to Democrats. Trump has openly discussed what may cause him to fire Mueller, but said he “(doesn’t) think it’s going to happen.” Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters related to the Russia probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would have the authority to fire Mueller.
This legislation has the support of three cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Democrats.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Obama White House via Flickr / Public Domain)
Special Counsel Independence Protection Act
A bill to limit the removal of a special counsel, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The house has not voted
- The senate has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryIntroducedAugust 3rd, 2017
- senate Committees