Grassley tries to finesse Mueller defense bill through Senate

"We do not believe that he will be fired, and we therefore don't think that that is necessary", Ryan said during a press conference Tuesday. "He and his people were involved in the negotiations, they agreed to it, and he signed the bill".

Well, if Trump does fire Mueller or Rosenstein, the country will rightly blame McConnell and the GOP-controlled Senate.

Grassley acknowledged McConnell's comments on Wednesday, saying that the majority leader has a "terrible job" but adding that he "can't worry about what's going on on the floor".

"It would send a message", said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of ME, who recently endorsed the special counsel proposal written by two Republican senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of SC, and two Democratic senators, Chris Coons of DE and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris said they hope McConnell changes his mind about putting the bill to a full Senate vote.

"'We'll not be having this on the floor of the Senate, ' McConnell said on Fox News".

The president has recently stepped up his public and private criticism of DOJ officials and the Russian Federation probe, lashing out at Mueller on Twitter and openly musing to reporters about firing the special counsel in a meeting last week, saying "many people" are telling him to sack Mueller, adding, "We'll see what happens".

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McConnell's determination that the action is not needed is apparently regardless of what happens in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Grassley said if the authors of the various proposals put forward a consensus bill, he'd bring it up.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's already said it will never see the Senate floor, calling the bill unnecessary.

"Even if I were a lawyer I'd still probably be somewhat in a quandary on that point", Grassley said.

"There's no question, and the Democrats would even concede this, that the president would be an asset [in those states]", McConnell said.

He continued: "I'm focused on making sure we get to a mark-up on the Judiciary Committee next Thursday and that we're in a place for it to get passed the Judiciary Committee". "What I don't trust are future presidents that I don't know yet", he said.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the argument over constitutionality is a "red herring used by some of my colleagues as a pretext for opposing the bill, when they really have other reasons".

"In early December, President Trump, furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller's investigation had to be shut down".