As President Trump continues to hint that he is considering interfering with the Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Senate Republicans are pushing back against such interference. Pushback against Trump threats came in the form of a 14-7 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve legislation that will make it even more difficult for the president to fire Mueller.
All Democrats on the committee voted for the so-called “Mueller Protection” legislation, with four Republicans joining them: Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. The vote came on Thursday in the wake of a statement by Trump saying that he might try an play a “more direct” role in the Department of Justice probe.
The legislation gives any special counsel up to ten days after being fired to challenge the ouster in court. The bill was the product of lengthy discussions and negotiations. Before the vote was taken, Senator Grassley said that he still had constitutional concerns about the legislative branch interfering with decisions made by the executive branch of government. Despite his reservations he voted for the bill saying, “I believe this bill should be considered by the full Senate.”
The top Democrat on the committee, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, said the revised Grassley plan was “a compromise way to ensure appropriate congressional oversight while also inoculating the special counsel” from any inappropriate presidential interference.
Some Republicans continue to insist that Trump will not fire Mueller, while others say the bill is a waste of effort since Trump will veto any such bill that might come to his desk. Fellow Republican have harshly criticized Senator Grassley for pushing for such legislation when its chances of passing are so slim. But Grassley held firm to his choice stating that “you’ve just got to do your job and let the chips fall where they may.”
Calling the President Donald Bush and other uncomplimentary labels, some of Trump’s staunchest supporters expressed anger and disappointment at his weekend airstrikes on Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Trump’s call for “precision” airstrikes was in response to a chemical weapons attack on civilians last week strongly suspected to be the responsibility of the Syrian regime.
Trump supporters, such as conservative author and radio host Michael Savage said the strikes were reactionary, not-needed, and even “Clinton-esque.”
“We lost. War machine bombs Syria. No evidence Assad did it. Sad warmongers hijacking our nation,” Savage tweeted. He also posted a video condemning Trump’s airstrike.
The subset of Trump supporters most ruffled by the attack on Syria are those of the “America First” persuasion. They say getting involved in Syria is counter to promises Trump made during his campaign, undermining his assurance that he would take the US out of global conflicts.
Conservative author and one-time loyal Trump supporter Mike Cernovich, called the President Donald Bush in a tweet.
“Congratulations to the Trump administration for adopting the same failed foreign policy and ignoring of the constitution as the last two administrations,” tweeted Doug Stafford, a strategist for Sen. Rand Paul’s RANDPAC.
Ann Coulter, conservative author, used evidence from Trump’s own tweet-feed to prove that he has betrayed his friends by back-tracking on his promises. Trump said before he ran for president that former President Barack Obama would be making a grave mistake to take any action at all in Syria.
Trump has changed his mind several times concerning his attitude towards Syria, including a recent statement saying he would like to see the US withdraw from the Syrian conflict, the sooner the better. But then word came of the horrifying chemical attack allegedly perpetrated by Assad’s government on his own citizens last weekend. Trump was outraged enough to call for a precision retaliation against Syria, severely disappointing some of his followers.
“After Trump’s first year we have: 1.3 trillion omnibus, no wall, war in Syria. Is Clinton secretly President?” wrote Lucian B. Wintrich, the D.C. bureau chief and White House correspondent for Gateway Pundit.
Despite ethic scandals associated with EPA chief Scott Pruitt, ten groups representing conservative interests sent a letter to President Trump urging him to stand behind his cabinet secretary.
The group brought a letter to the White House last week extolling the virtues of Secretary Pruitt, saying it is the first time such an organized effort has come together to support a Trump Cabinet official. The letter praises Pruitt and thanks the President for supporting him even though it might be difficult politically due to Pruitt’s questionable behaviors which are continuing to come to light.
“The days of a rogue, agenda driven EPA are over,” the letter stated. “Scott Pruitt is a bold, capable manager and is right for this job. His record shows you made the right choice picking him. We are certain he will guide EPA through the coming years of your Administration as a courageous and qualified administrator.”
One of the signatories is Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund, who stated:
“Pruitt is delivering on policy changes that conservatives have wanted to see for years, if not decades,” Martin said. “There’s not a single member of the cabinet who has managed to deliver regulation rollbacks as much as Scott Pruitt has.”
She also said that she hasn’t seen any behavior on Pruitt’s part that should require his dismissal.
This is the conservative movement coming forward and saying this guy is rock star,” said another signatory. “I have not seen a more united conservative front on behalf of a Cabinet member since the Reagan administration.”
Pruitt has been under fire for months for several unethical moves he made while head of the EPA. He is accused of outrageous spending on security and travel, plus he is being investigated by the EPA inspector general for several questionable activities.
More recently news of his renting of a $50-a-night condo from a lobbyist couple caused a stir among his detractors, while more scandals keep bubbling up to the surface of what is looking like a pretty deep swamp. He is accused of firing aides who questioned him about the money he was spending on security and travel, including asking for sirens and lights so he can speed-up his drives around DC.
Pruitt is also under investigation for his travel using taxpayer money, use of a special hiring authority, and spending on a soundproof phone booth for exclusive use in his office.
Observers have been predicting an imminent dismissal of the EPA head by chief of staff John Kelly, but President Trump has tweeted his support of the embattled secretary. The President told journalists on Air Force One last week that:
“I think he’s done a fantastic job. I think he’s done an incredible job. He’s been very courageous. It hasn’t been easy, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”