Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina; and Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, introduced, on 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.”