People For the American Way

Letter: Groups Call For Special Counsel Protections

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Letter: Groups Call For Special Counsel Protections
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The past week has brought a deluge of news related to the Mueller investigation. A Newsweek headline blared, “Trump’s New Solicitor General Could Fire Russia Investigator Robert Mueller.” USA Today ominously reported, “Congress should protect evidence gathered by Mueller in Russia probe, experts warn.” And now the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a “Special Counsels and the Separation of Powers” hearing. In advance of the September 26 hearing, People For the American Way joined Democracy 21 and other organizations urging that the Mueller investigation be protected on a letter supporting the two special counsel bills on the committee’s agenda. You can download this letter here.

Dear Senator:

We are writing to strongly urge you to support and cosponsor legislation to protect the integrity of the Special Counsel investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump has already interfered with this investigation and with the administration of justice by firing FBI Director James Comey, who was heading the FBI investigation into this matter. In President Trump’s own words, explaining his firing of Comey, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

President Trump has also reportedly attempted to interfere with the Russia investigation by asking two top intelligence officials to help him push back against the FBI investigation. The officials appropriately refused to do so.

President Trump has also reportedly explored whether he can pardon himself and his children in regard to the investigation, and whether he could undermine or fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

We believe it is essential to protect Special Counsel Mueller and his investigation from any interference by President Trump.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have introduced legislation (S.1735) which would require approval from a federal three-judge panel before a special counsel could be dismissed.

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) have introduced legislation (S.1741) which would allow a special counsel who was fired without cause to seek review and reinstatement from a panel of three federal judges.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on these bills on September 26, 2017.

We strongly urge you to support and cosponsor these bipartisan bills and thereby to go on public record in opposition to any attempt by President Trump to fire Mr. Mueller or interfere with his investigation.

Furthermore, on August 25, 2017, President Trump pardoned former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his criminal contempt of court conviction. The Arpaio pardon also interfered with the administration of justice.

In issuing the Arpaio pardon, President Trump made clear he is prepared to use his pardon powers for political purposes. We strongly urge you to go on public record in opposition to any effort by President Trump to interfere with the Special Counsel investigation by pardoning himself or any others involved in the Russia investigation.

Sincerely,

Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Popular Democracy
Common Cause
CREW
Democracy 21
Democracy Spring
Demos
End Citizens United
Every Voice
Free Speech for People
Indivisible
MoveOn.org
Norman Eisen, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011
Norman Ornstein
People For the American Way
Protect Democracy
Public Citizen
Revolving Door Project
Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2005-2007
Stand Up America
The Loyal Opposition
Voices for Progress
Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund