Jeff Flake Makes Last Minute Power Move Against Trump To Protect Mueller

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A Republican senator has found a way to buck his leadership, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has put his foot on bills trying to get to the Senate Floor and stomped them to death. It helped that this contrarian senator will be retiring after his term is over. Otherwise, Donald Trump would tweet him into oblivion. This was his beautiful and courageous gift to preserving our democracy.

Even retiring Republican senators and representatives have every right to worry about their futures, should they openly go against the leadership. After all, doing so could earn them a bad enough reputation, that they might have trouble finding work after they retire — say in lobbying.  In spite of all this, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), whose seat went to a Democratic woman, said he would not support nor confirm any of the president’s judicial nominees.

He sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, so a vote against a nominee there could have a chilling effect. Possibly, Trump’s nominee would never leave committee.

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Flake worked with his friend, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), to bring a vote to the Senate on the special counsel legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The special counsel has been running an investigation into the Russian attack on the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016 and possible conspiracy between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.

McConnell said no. That was when Flake told his fellow Republicans his alternate plan of blocking Trump’s judicial nominees, and McConnell wants to stuff the judiciary with conservatives — big time. There are 11 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and only 10 Democrats. Right now, the president has 21 judicial nominees waiting with the committee. Another 32 were ready for a Senate floor vote.

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Flake said:

‘We have been told that the bill that Senator Coons and I will move to bring up shortly is not necessary, as there have been no indications that the independence of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is in jeopardy. That may have been an arguable position before last week. But it is not arguable anymore.’

There have been a few Republican senators willing to use their vote to protect issues they believed in. Both Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and now-deceased John McCain (R-AZ) were those most likely to vote with the other side occasionally. McCain famously gave a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACT/Obamacare) a late night thumbs-down. He was already quite sick at the time.

Collins and several Republicans have commented that Mueller’s investigation was necessary, especially after Trump fired his recused Attorney (AG) General Jeff Sessions. POTUS then put an acting Attorney General in Session’s place, Matt Whitaker. The new acting (AG) was previously Sessions’ chief of staff and Trump’s mole into the Department of Justice (DOJ). Whitaker has criticized the Mueller investigations a number of times in public.

Flake said:

‘The President now has this investigation in his sights, and we all know it.’

McConnell and other Senate Republicans say the legislation is not necessary because the President is not about to fire Mueller or undermine the investigation. Senate Republican leaders have made no effort to put a bill on the Senate floor.

Thom Tillis (R-NC) said he saw no need to pass Flake’s message right away, because he trusts Trump to not fire Mueller. Now that Whitaker can take the investigation oversight away from Deputy Attorney General RodRosenstein, McConnell still uses the same excuse.

 

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Tillis commented:

‘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, 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. I don’t think it’s increased the threat of Mueller being prevented from finishing his business. And I think most of this is going to be a non-event over the next month-and-a-half as the investigation winds down.’

He added:

‘I don’t think it’s increased the threat of Mueller being prevented from finishing his business. And I think most of this is going to be a non-event over the next month-and-a-half as the investigation winds down.’

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said:

‘If Mr. Whitaker does not recuse himself, we Democrats are going to attempt to add legislation to the must-pass spending bill in the lame duck session that will prevent acting Attorney General Whitaker from interfering with the Mueller investigation in any way.’

 

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

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