Why Won't the Senate Protect Mueller?




  • In Tech
  • 2018-12-06 11:30:17Z
  • By Bloomberg
 

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Here's a puzzler: Why won't Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just allow a vote on a measure to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation?Avoiding the vote is starting to get costly. Senator Jeff Flake, a member of the judiciary committee, is determined to oppose all judicial nominations until the bill protecting special counsels gets a vote. His pledge has already helped to sink one potential judge - and is now delaying several more, with the committee canceling a meeting for a second time because it doesn't have the votes without Flake. So what's going on? On the surface, this certainly appears to contradict my suggestion that President Donald Trump is losing his clout with congressional Republicans. After all, they're the ones who have made confirming conservative judges a major priority. So are they putting Trump's interests ahead of their own?Perhaps. But it's probably a bit more complicated. For one thing, we're talking about a symbolic vote here, for all practical purposes. Even if the Senate voted to protect Mueller - who's investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election - the current House wouldn't go along with it and the process would have to start all over again in the new Congress. That might make it easier to just let the vote happen. But it also means that senators could wind up having to vote twice. They probably don't want to do that whether they're for the bill or against it. And they especially won't want to be put on record now in case circumstances have changed by next year. Another reason to avoid the bill is that the pressure to confirm judges has relaxed quite a bit now that Senate Republicans will be moving from their current slim majority to a more comfortable 53-to-47 edge next year - and will have fewer demands on their time given the Democratic majority in the House. There won't be a big tax cut or health-care bill that needs floor time in 2019 or 2020. So perhaps McConnell just doesn't see much need to give in, especially since Flake, who didn't seek re-election this year, will be gone in a few weeks.It could also just be that McConnell doesn't like giving Democrats any victories. After all, blocking tough votes on behalf of the caucus is what party leaders in Congress do. Harry Reid turned it into an art form when he was majority leader, even when it reduced the overall capacity of the Senate and of individual senators. And McConnell is following where Reid went.So my guess is that unless Flake extends his action to must-pass legislation and finds more allies, McConnell will keep resisting - waiting for the new year, a larger Republican majority and no Jeff Flake. 1. Matthew Green and Douglas Harris on Nancy Pelosi's continuing fight to be speaker of the House.2. Greg Koger has a reform agenda for the Senate. Very interesting.3. Sheri Berman at the Monkey Cage on the "yellow vest" protests.4. Adam Serwer on why Democrats wouldn't be interested in joke candidates.5. Harry Enten on election fraud in North Carolina.6. Jamelle Bouie on Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina.7. And my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Francis Wilkinson talks with Andrew Delbanco about his new book on fugitive slaves.

Get Early Returns every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe. Also subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You'll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.

To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy Lavin at tlavin1@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Google CEO Had To Explain To Congress Why Googling 'Idiot' Shows Donald Trump
Google CEO Had To Explain To Congress Why Googling 'Idiot' Shows Donald Trump

Search for the term "idiot" on Google and several photographs of President

Trump says would intervene in arrest of Chinese executive
Trump says would intervene in arrest of Chinese executive

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene with the U.S. Justice Department in the case against a Chinese telecommunications executive if it would help secure a trade deal with Beijing. "If I think it's good for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the

AP: Ivanka, Kushner could profit from tax break they pushed
AP: Ivanka, Kushner could profit from tax break they pushed

At an Oval Office gathering earlier this year, President Donald Trump began touting his administration's new real estate investment program, which offers massive tax breaks to developers who invest in downtrodden American communities. "Ivanka, would you like to say something?" Trump asked

California judge orders porn star to pay Trump legal fees
California judge orders porn star to pay Trump legal fees

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Porn star Stormy Daniels must pay President Donald Trump nearly $293,000 for his attorneys' fees and another $1,000 in sanctions after her defamation suit against him was dismissed, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered Tuesday.

Flynn to make arguments against prison time in Russia probe
Flynn to make arguments against prison time in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, are poised to ask a judge to spare him prison time in a sentencing memorandum due by the end of Tuesday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Tech

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.