Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday of sheltering President Trump by blocking a bipartisan bill to protect the Mueller investigation.
Mr. Coons was asked by CNN’s John Berman if he believed Mr. McConnell was “running interference” for Mr. Trump — and the Democratic senator said he had no doubt.
“I see no other justification for refusing to bring forward such an existing bipartisan bill,” Mr. Coons said.
On Wednesday, Mr. McConnell blocked a vote on a bill backed by both Mr. Coons and GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona that would protect the special counsel from being fired without a justifiable cause.
The majority leader argued that such legislation wasn’t necessary, because there was no sign Mr. Trump would actually end the investigation or go after Mr. Mueller’s job.
“I have no reason to believe President Trump won’t take some precipitous action here,” Mr. Coons countered on CNN. “Last week, [he] forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
“Do you think Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, is running interference for the President?” - @JohnBerman— New Day (@NewDay) November 15, 2018
“Yes.” - Sen. @ChrisCoons.
“You do?” - Berman.
“Yes.” - Coons
This exchange comes as McConnell blocks a vote on a Mueller protection bill.https://t.co/NhqfmFE4FGpic.twitter.com/BuIs5Yi5iP
Mr. Sessions recused himself from the special counsel investigation, creating a constant source of tension with Mr. Trump.
Many critics of the president see acting Attorney General Michael G. Whitaker, who publicly criticized the Muller probe before taking the position with the Justice Department, as Mr. Trump’s weapon against the probe.
Mr. Coons argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Senate-confirmed official, should have taken his boss’ place.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department released a 20-page document defending the decision to appoint Mr. Whitaker, citing similar appointments in the Obama and Bush administrations.
• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at email@example.com.
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