Coons is one of the senators behind the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
Sen. Chris Coons of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-author of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, spoke at a Judiciary Committee meeting on the legislation’s positive, bipartisan momentum.
“Thank you, Sen. [Blumenthal]. Both you, Sen. Graham, and Sen. Tillis have been great to work with, Sen. Booker, and we introduced the bipartisan bill yesterday, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
It harmonizes previous bills, which Sen. Blumenthal and Sen. Whitehouse were also engaged with. I just want to thank you for your diligent and good work on this and I want to thank the Chairman for his engagement and express my hope, my strong feeling, that any amendments should be bipartisan in nature and advance our objective of protecting the independence of the special counsel.
I am very optimistic we will make progress in resolving this this week and I look forward to having the chance to talk with colleagues about how we can move this forward,” Coons said.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina; Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; and Coons, introduced April 11 the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
The new legislation merges two parallel efforts into one unified, bipartisan bill. In August of 2017, Tillis and Coons introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act, S. 1741; and Graham and Booker introduced the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, S. 1735. The bipartisan legislation recently introduced harmonizes the Coons-Tillis bill and the Graham-Booker bill.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act codifies existing Department of Justice regulations to ensure that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause by a senior Justice Department official, and the reason must be provided in writing. The act provides the Special Counsel a 10-day window in which he can seek expedited judicial review of his removal to determine whether the firing was for good cause. If the firing is determined to have violated the good-cause requirement, the removal will not take effect. The act reserves the staffing, documents and materials of the investigation while the matter is pending.
“This is a time when all of us — Republicans and Democrats — need to stand up and make it clear that we are committed to the rule of law in this country,” said Coons. “We need to ensure not only that Special Counsel Mueller can complete his work without interference, but that special counsels in future investigations can, too.”