Special Counsel Robert Mueller may get some extra job security as he continues to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election thanks to a new bill being put forth by members of Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), would give any Department of Justice special counsel the opportunity to challenge a removal from office. The bill would allow the counsel to seek a review by a three-judge panel to be conducted within 14 days of the challenge. Should the panel overturn the firing, the counsel would be immediately reinstated to their position.
"It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations," Tillis said in a statement. "A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation's system of check and balances."
President Trump has criticized Mueller since he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May, just after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Mueller, who served as FBI director before Comey, has assembled a team of lawyers in order to investigate the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia. Trump's legal team is investigating possible conflicts of interest within the Mueller team. Trump expressed concern over Mueller and Comey's close relationship in June.
"Well, he is very very good friends with (former FBI Director James) Comey, which is very bothersome," said Trump in a Fox News clip. "We're going to have to see."
While Mueller has received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, he has also received some criticism.
Rep. Trent Franks, a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, called for Mueller's resignation on Tuesday, pointing out his close relationship to Comey.