After so much division, people tend to forget that Democratic and Republican legislators can work together. In fact given that the Senate is so closely divided, working across the aisle is nearly always a must. With an erratic Donald Trump at the helm of the country, Senators came together to produce powerful protective legislation.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation that demanded the Department of Justice (DOJ) release a special report, according to The Associated Press (AP). This report would be the one concluding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election. Mueller has also investigated the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with Moscow.
The senators’ legislation required Mueller’s report go to both the public and all members of the Senate and House of Representatives when the investigation concludes. Should Trump’s acting Attorney General (AG) Matthew Whitaker or appointed AG fire or transfer Mueller or if the special counsel resigns, the DOJ must provide the report within two weeks.
Trump has nominated William Barr to fill the permanent AG position. During his hearing before Congress, Barr said he would provide Congress his interpretation of Mueller’s report. Naturally, portions of the report would be redacted.
The two senators are both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and heard Barr’s testimony recently. Grassley formerly served as chair of the committee until he took another chair. He released a statement saying people have “a right to know” how the government spends their tax dollars.
Grassley indicated the senators’ legislation would guarantee Americans could see Mueller’s report, whether the administration was Republican or Democratic.
According to Blumenthal, the legislation will require this report includes:
‘…all factual findings and underlying evidence. A special counsel is appointed only in very rare serious circumstances involving grave violations of public trust. The public has a right and need to know the facts of such betrayals of public trust.’
The Judiciary Committee will vote shortly on whether Trump’s nomination will come to the Senate for a full vote. Deputy AG Rod Rosenthal has been conducting oversight of the special counsel. Rosenthal would have stepped into former AG Jeff Sessions’ seat in more traditional times. However, he will retire instead.
That left Whitaker to manage the investigation, but he punted it to Rosenthal. When, Barr takes office, should he become the next attorney general, he would take over managing the investigation. This includes agreeing to subpoenas for the investigators and the FBI among other tasks.
Barr told the committee that he would release a report on Mueller’s investigation to Congress and the public. However, he told them that he would offer his own summary of the investigation, not a full report.
Last year, the two senators agreed to legislation that would protect the special counsel from the president. It was approved by the Judiciary committee and gives Mueller 10 days, should he be fired, to ask for a judicial review. The legislation decreed that any special counsel can be fired for good cause only.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.