by Daveda Gruber:
On Wednesday Jeff Flake, the outgoing Arizona Republican Senator has joined up with Democrats bid to force a vote on legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
We all remember that Flake has joined the Democrats before. He opposed a judicial nominee, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that resulted in tied vote that required Vice President Pence to serve as the tie-breaker.
With Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, Flake tried to use a parliamentary maneuver to get the ball rolling for a vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
This would have shielded Mueller from inappropriate removal or political pressure.
Flake tried to get a unanimous consent to vote on the bill. Too bad for Flake and his cohorts but Utah Sen. Mike Lee objected and that blocked the effort.
The three lawmakers had expressed concern over comments made by President Trump, who has called the Mueller probe a “phony witch hunt.”
They were also opposed to Trump’s asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down.
Flake spoke on the Senate floor saying, “It’s clear, therefore, something has to be done to protect Mr. Mueller’s investigation.”
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act authorizes that a special counsel can only be fired for good cause by a senior Justice Department official.
During Tuesday’s briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied that the president is considering firing Mueller.
Sanders said, “Look, I think that the president has had Robert Mueller doing his job for the last two years, and he could’ve taken action at any point, and he hasn’t. So we’ll let that speak for itself. He has no intent to do anything.”
Blocking the bill has its downfalls. Flake has said he won’t support any of Trump’s judicial nominees until he gets a vote on his Mueller bill.
Flake made good on his threat on Wednesday and joined the Democrats in opposing a bid to advance Thomas Farr’s nomination to serve on the federal bench for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Vice President Mike Pence, in a rare Senate intervention by the vice president, had to break a tie.
Later this week, a final confirmation vote is expected.
Farr’s nomination has been controversial. All forty-nine (49) Democrat opposed Farr. They argued that Farr discriminated against African Americans through his rulings on voting laws.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said, “Mr. Farr defended North Carolina’s absurdly restrictive voter ID law, also passed by the conservative Republican state legislature, and they tailored their election laws to disadvantage African-American voters after requesting race-specific data on voting practices.”
In the mean time Republicans are standing behind Farr.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary … a body that’s frequently been held up by my Democratic colleagues as the ‘gold standard’ … has awarded Mr. Farr its highest possible rating: unanimously well qualified.”
That’s good enough for me. I’m happy that Flake will be gone soon. I never did like him.