Credo Action

Tell Congress: Trump investigation must be truly independent

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Petition to Congress:

"Ensure the independence of criminal investigations and protect the rule of law. Protect special prosecutor Mueller from Trump’s abuse of power and restore the independent counsel statute as enacted in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978."

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    Tell Congress: Trump investigation must be truly independent

    It increasingly seems like a question of when – not if – Donald Trump will fire Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating his ties to Russia and likely obstruction of justice.

    Trump has openly mused about firing Mueller in public interviews, and his team is digging up dirt on the special prosecutor. It appears that as soon as Mueller digs too deep, Trump will try to stymie the investigation yet again.1 The White House is falling into chaos amidst deep disagreement on how to handle the Mueller investigation, with some reports claiming Trump fired Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with a tweet.

    But as we proved recently by blocking Trumpcare in the Senate for now, intense and unyielding public pressure can sway even Republicans to resist Trump. Congress must immediately pass a law that would protect an independent counsel like Mueller from Trump’s abuse of power and prevent this dangerous and out-of-control occupant of the White House from triggering a constitutional crisis by firing Mueller.

    Tell Congress: Trump investigation must be truly independent. Protect special counsel Mueller from Trump’s abuse of power.

    Not long ago, a post-Watergate law was in place that protected the rule of law from presidential overreach. The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 set up a system to ensure that special prosecutors would be totally independent officials that a group of judges would appoint and no president could fire. But in the 1990s, Republicans and Democrats teamed up to let the independent counsel statute expire.2

    Mueller, by contrast, owes his current post to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who picked him after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. Unlike the independent counsels of the 1980s, Mueller is a special prosecutor serving at the whim of Trump’s own Department of Justice.3 That means that Trump could order Rosenstein to fire Mueller, sparking a constitutional firestorm with the executive branch seeking to crush the rule of law to protect its grip on power.

    Congress can prevent this nightmare scenario – but we cannot afford to wait until after it happens. Instead, legislators must make it clear that they will force the White House to obey the law by protecting Mueller’s investigation and keeping it independent of Trump overreach.

    Tell Congress: Trump investigation must be truly independent. Protect special counsel Mueller from Trump’s abuse of power.

    A bipartisan group of senators are working to draft legislation that would prevent Mueller from being fired without a judicial review.4 But with an illegitimate autocrat occupying the White House, our system of laws needs the strongest possible defense – so Congress should restore the original post-Watergate rules, as well.

    We need to send a message that no White House is above the law. Congress must step up now to make sure we have a truly independent investigation of Trump.

    Tell Congress: Trump investigation must be truly independent. Protect special counsel Mueller from Trump’s abuse of power.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References: Image: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

    1. David Graham, “When Will President Trump Fire Robert Mueller?” The Atlantic, July 21, 2017.
    2. Phil Helsel, “‘Special Counsel’ Less Independent Than Under Expired Watergate-Era Law,” NBC News, May 17, 2017.
    3. Erwin Chemerinsky and Eric Freedman, “Naming Robert Mueller as special counsel isn't enough – because Trump can get rid of him,” Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2017.
    4. Darren Samuelsohn, “Graham: Firing Mueller would be 'beginning of the end' of Trump's presidency,” POLITICO, July 27, 2017.