Judiciary chair wants vote on special counsel bill next week

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WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants his panel to vote as soon as next week on a bipartisan bill to prevent the undue firing of special counsels like Robert Mueller, according to aides familiar with his plans.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked for ranking member Dianne Feinstein's sign-off to make a last-minute addition of the bill to the committee's agenda today, a move that would set up an April 19 vote on the legislation.

A spokesman for Feinstein, D-Calif., said that the senator needs to review the bill before making a decision.

Grassley's move comes the same morning as Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Christopher Coons, D-Del., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced that they had completed legislation that would delay any order to fire a special counsel by 10 days, giving that counsel a window to appeal the decision to a panel of three federal judges. The bill further stipulates that, during the 10-day period, no documents or materials related to the counsel's investigation could be destroyed or staffing changes made.

The release of the bill, and the fresh momentum behind it, are a watershed for lawmakers who struggled to agree upon a middle ground between two separate special counsel protection bills they filed last summer in the wake of President Donald Trump hinting that he might replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


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