Retiring Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake on Wednesday vowed to pull support for all federal judicial nominees — including 21 pending in the Judiciary Committee and 32 awaiting a vote on the Senate floor — unless the Senate’s GOP leadership permits consideration of legislation to expand protections for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job.
“We have been told that the bill … is not necessary, as there have been no indications that the independence of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is in jeopardy,” he said “That may have been an arguable position before last week. But it is not arguable anymore,” he added
“With the firing of the attorney general … the president now has this investigation in his sights and we all know it,” he continued. “How such an investigation can be the cause of controversy is beyond me. … Presidents do not get to determine what gets investigated and what and who does not.”
Flake made the new judicial threat after he and Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, unsuccessfully attempted to force a Senate vote on the special counsel legislation Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the request for a vote from Flake.
McConnell and other Senate Republicans argues that the legislation is not required because the President is not about to fire Mueller or undermine the investigation.
One of the bill’s Republican co-authors, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said he supports the policy but doesn’t see an immediate need to pass the measure.
“I don’t think the President has any intention of removing Mueller. I’m all about getting this on the books so no future President can make that kind of a bad decision,” Tillis said Wednesday.
“I’ve had discussion with the President. Everyone said it was hours away back in August. Didn’t happen. So I think it’s another false crisis. But it’s important legislation ultimately to get passed.”