Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), will introduce the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
The new legislation merges two parallel efforts into one unified, bipartisan bill. In August of 2017, Senators Booker and Graham introduced the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, S. 1735, and Senators Tillis and Coons introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act, S. 1741. The bipartisan legislation introduced today harmonizes the Graham-Booker bill and the Coons-Tillis bill.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act:
Codifies existing Department of Justice regulations to ensure that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause by a senior Justice Department official, and the reason must be provided in writing.
Provides the Special Counsel a 10-day window in which he can seek expedited judicial review of his removal to determine whether the firing was for good cause. If the firing is ultimately determined to have violated the good-cause requirement, the removal will not take effect.
Preserves the staffing, documents, and materials of the investigation while the matter is pending.
"A nation of laws cannot exist if the people tasked with enforcing them are subjected to political interference or intimidation from the President," said Senator Booker. "The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act will install a needed check and ensure that Special Counsel Mueller and his team -- and any future special counsels -- are able to follow the facts and the law wherever they lead. Congress must act to advance this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible without any further delay."
"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. I think this will serve the country well. I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to make this law," said Senator Graham.
"This is a time when all of us--Republicans and Democrats--need to stand up and make it clear that we are committed to the rule of law in this country," said Senator Coons. "We need to ensure not only that Special Counsel Mueller can complete his work without interference, but that special counsels in future investigations can, too."
"This compromise bipartisan bill helps ensure that special counsels -- present or future -- have the independence they need to conduct fair and impartial investigations," said Senator Tillis. "The integrity and independence of special counsel investigations are vital to reaffirming the American people's confidence in our nation's rule of law."