Lowey Cosponsors Bill to Protect Special Counsel Mueller
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, cosponsored legislation to shield Special Counsel Robert Mueller from President Trump. The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (H.R. 5476) would enable Special Counsels, including Mueller, to appeal their firings to a panel of judges and potentially be reinstated.
“President Trump’s threats to fire Special Counsel Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein are a threat to the rule of law and edge us closer to a constitutional crisis,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “This legislation is a necessary response to the president’s aggressions and a critical fail-safe against presidential interference in the Special Counsel’s investigation. Congress should pass this legislation without delay.”
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act would:
- Codify existing Department of Justice regulations to ensure the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause by the senior most Department of Justice official not recused from the matter, and the reason must be provided in writing;
- Prevent the President from using the Vacancies Act to install an Acting Attorney General who will fire the special counsel at the President’s bidding;
- Provide the Special Counsel 10 days to seek expedited judicial review of the removal to determine whether the firing was for good cause. If the three judge panel determines the firing violated the good-cause requirement, the removal will not take effect; and
- Preserve the staffing, documents, and materials of the investigation while the appeal is pending.
Lowey has been a strong defender of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference and President Trump’s alleged Russian ties. In February, she joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan urging Congress to provide $300 million for the FBI to stop Russian election interference. As Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, she fought to secure in the FY18 omnibus spending bill $307 million above the Administration’s request for the FBI to fight Russian cyberattacks and $380 million, a 100 percent increase, for election technology grants for states to secure their election systems through the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). New York’s share of this vital election assistance funding is estimated to be $21.8 million.