Trump-Russia Roundup: November 8-November 14

Republican leadership just blocked a bipartisan bill to protect Mueller and reinstate Rosenstein. Read more in this week’s Roundup:

Last week, Stand Up America helped lead protests across the country after Trump removed Rosenstein as Mueller’s boss and installed Matthew Whitaker, a lackey who has called the probe a “witch hunt.” Hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets to demand Congress protect the Trump-Russia investigation.

This afternoon, Mitch McConnell struck back. He just blocked debate on the bipartisan bill that would protect special counsel Mueller’s investigation and reinstate Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as Mueller’s boss.

Here’s what the bill would do:

  • Ensure that Mueller can’t be fired without cause
  • Reinstate Rosenstein as Mueller’s boss
  • Give Mueller a 10-day window to challenge his potential dismissal in federal court
  • Require Mueller to submit a final report to Congress

It’s simple, straightforward, and necessary — and the fight to pass it isn’t over.

Trump fired Jeff Sessions to remove Rosenstein as Mueller’s boss. He replaced Sessions with a lackey who has mused about cutting Mueller’s budget and derailing his investigation.

So McConnell’s objection begs the question: Why are Republicans so afraid of Mueller?

Here’s more info about what’s happening in the Senate and the other Trump-Russia news you need to know:

Buzzfeed News: Mitch McConnell Just Blocked A Bipartisan Bill To Protect Robert Mueller
A bill that would make it harder for Trump to remove Mueller was rejected on the floor of the Senate. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons tried to bring the bill forward for debate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused, meaning the bill will remain in limbo.

The Hill: Bill to protect Mueller blocked in Senate
Legislation protecting special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired was blocked in the Senate. “With the firing of the attorney general … the president now has this investigation in his sights and we all know it,” Flake said from the Senate floor.

The Hill: Flake says he’ll oppose judicial nominees until Mueller bill gets vote
Senator Flake said today that he will oppose any of Trump’s judicial nominations until legislation protecting Mueller gets a vote. His decision comes after McConnell blocked Flake from bringing legislation to protect Mueller from being fired to a vote before the Senate.

NBC News: Trump could submit answers to Mueller’s questions on Russia this week
Trump’s legal team is nearing completion of written answers to questions posed by Mueller that may be submitted as early as this week.

CNN: Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House
Whitaker has previously expressed deep skepticism about the probe, including arguing in a 2017 CNN op-ed that Mueller was “dangerously close to crossing” a red line following reports that the special counsel was looking into Trump’s finances.

The Washington Post: Before he led the Justice Department, Matthew G. Whitaker promoted company accused of deceiving clients
When federal investigators were digging into an invention-promotion company accused of fraud by customers, they sought information in 2017 from a prominent member of the company’s advisory board: Matthew G. Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa.

USA Today: Trump’s interim pick to lead Justice Department faces scrutiny over criticisms of Mueller inquiry
Known as a Trump loyalist during his yearlong tenure as chief of staff to Sessions, Whitaker was promoted last week by Trump to take his boss’s job after Sessions was forced out.

CNN: Whitaker was campaign chairman for Mueller witness
New Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, whose appointment means he will supervise Mueller’s investigation, has a personal tie to one of the witnesses in the probe: Whitaker was the campaign chairman for Sam Clovis in 2014 when Clovis ran for state treasurer in Iowa.

The Guardian: Trump pick Whitaker rose through ranks as partisan targeting Democrats
Whitaker built his career filing politically targeted lawsuits and complaints against Democratic lawmakers. In one case he prosecuted, a paid informant was instructed to wear a wire to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting attended by a Democratic state senator.

NBC News: Schiff: Whitaker must recuse himself on special counsel or Democrats will investigate
Democrats are pressuring the acting attorney general to recuse himself amid conflicting comments about the special counsel’s probe.

Vox: Matthew Whitaker said the Mueller probe could become a “witch hunt.” He’s now in charge of it.
Whitaker is now expected to oversee the Mueller probe, so long as he doesn’t have any conflicts that would force him to recuse himself. He will have the power to curtail or shut down the investigation altogether.

The Washington Post: The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation
The installation of Whitaker as acting attorney general isn’t just unconstitutional — although it is unconstitutional.

The New York Times: Matthew Whitaker: An Attack Dog With Ambition Beyond Protecting Trump
Trump first noticed Matthew G. Whitaker on CNN in the summer of 2017 and liked what he saw — a partisan defender who insisted there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The New Yorker: Trump’s Effort to Hobble the Mueller Investigation Must Be Stopped
In appointing Sessions’s interim replacement, Whitaker, a conservative Republican lawyer who had been serving as Sessions’s chief of staff, Trump passed over Rosenstein, and also stripped him of responsibility for overseeing the investigation being carried out by Mueller.

USA Today: ‘Trump just crossed a red line’: Protesters rally nationwide in support of Mueller probe
Protesters nationwide staged massive rallies from New York to Los Angeles to support Mueller and the Russia investigation, which they fear may be ended due to the new Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, overseeing the investigation.

Mother Jones: #ProtectMueller Protesters Shut Down Streets in Midtown Manhattan: “We Have to Resist”
Large crowds gathered in New York’s Times Square last week to call for protections for Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Other rallies are also happening nationwide.

The Washington Post: ‘Protect Mueller’: Protesters across U.S. decry president’s dismissal of Sessions as attorney general
Tens of thousands of protesters nationwide spent last week decrying Trump’s removal of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a move they fear threatens the independence of Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.

Axios: Jerome Corsi, formerly of InfoWars, expects to be indicted by Mueller investigation
Jerome Corsi, a political commentator who was recently subpoenaed to testify in Mueller’s Russia investigation — told ABC News on Monday that he’s expecting an indictment from the special counsel soon.

NBC News: Text messages show Roger Stone and friend discussing WikiLeaks plans
Six days before WikiLeaks began releasing John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone had a text message conversation with a friend about WikiLeaks, according to copies of phone records obtained exclusively by NBC News.

That’s it (for now!). It’s all real news. Nothing fake here.

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