Press Statement: Congress Should Support Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Special Counsel

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April 11, 2018 | By: Danielle Brian

POGO's Executive Director Danielle Brian stated:

We are deeply troubled by the new threats by President Trump against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It is in the best interest of our country that Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation without undue interference. Our mission as a nonpartisan government watchdog is to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. An order from the president to fire Mueller without cause would be a clear abuse of power, and therefore requires immediate congressional action.

Any undue interference by the president in the ongoing criminal investigation into the 2016 election would constitute obstruction of justice. An investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election and whether any laws were violated is legitimate and must be protected. No one is above the law, including the president.

Despite the volume of tweets by the president attacking Mueller, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle continue to support the special counsel, and warn the president not to follow through with threats to fire him. However, these statements may not be enough to protect Mueller and the rule of law. As a result, we urge members of Congress to support the bipartisan “Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.”

This legislation will ensure that President Trump cannot order Department of Justice officials to fire Mueller without proper cause, defined as “misconduct, dereliction of duty, conflict of interest, or other good cause including violation of policies of the Department of Justice”—thus protecting the rule of law.

We commend Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), for working together to introduce the legislation and we are encouraged by Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) calls for the legislation to be voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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