Today, House Judiciary Democrats, led by Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), held a joint press conference to introduce the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, a companion bill to the bipartisan Senate legislation which would limit President Trump's ability to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and interfere in the Russian election meddling investigation. Below are Ranking Member Nadler's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
"Good morning. We are here today to announce the introduction of a companion bill to the bipartisan Senate legislation—the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act—introduced by Senators Tillis, Coons, Booker and Graham. This important legislation builds-in protections for the Special Counsel investigation, and allows for judicial review to separate political interference from the carrying out of justice.
"Unfortunately, it seems Republican Leadership in the House lacks the spine to take a stand against President Trump’s abuse of power or defend our country from the constitutional crisis we would face if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were terminated or interfered with in any way.
"Earlier this week, after the FBI executed a search warrant on the offices of Michael Cohen, the President once again engaged in a disgraceful attack on the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel’s investigation, labeling it a “witch hunt” and saying “it’s an attack on our country in a true sense.” The President apparently thinks he is the State, and that an attack on him is an attack on the country. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The President, like everyone else, is subject to the law, and he should know that he will be held accountable to the law.
"Statements like these, reports that the President has considered numerous times over the past year firing Mueller, and threats from Congressional Republicans to “impeach” DOJ officials who refuse to cooperate in their conspiracy theories, are clear threats against the rule of law. They specifically—though, maybe indirectly—target Special Counsel Mueller, who is charged with investigating allegations of serious crimes against the United States and the American people.
"I am proud to stand here this morning with Representatives Shelia Jackson Lee and Steve Cohen—both of whom had earlier introduced legislation to protect the Special Counsel—and other Democratic colleagues from the House Judiciary Committee to say the following: We expect that the Special Counsel will be permitted to complete his investigation, wherever it may lead, free from political interference, and that the facts will be presented for public review so that the American people can know the full truth. We hope Chairman Goodlatte and the House Leadership will finally put country above party, fulfill their constitutional duty and defend the rule of law, and not sit quietly and abide an assault on our justice system. That is why we wrote to Chairman Goodlatte this week to formally request that he markup legislation on this matter, and we hope that he will accede, or absent that, that other Republicans on the Committee will join with us in making a formal demand for markup pursuant to House Rules.
"Finally, I want to again state the obvious: Any move against Special Counsel Mueller, against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the Special Counsel’s office, or against Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is recused from such matters, would be completely unacceptable. If the President were to move in any way to undermine or interfere with the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation, it would appear to be the actions of someone who knows he is guilty of crimes and cannot withstand an honest investigation, at which point all options would have to be on the table."