“Trump Back In U.S. Amid Questions About Possible Obstruction; Top GOP Senator ‘Open’ To Bipartisan Bill Protecting Mueller “
Tonight a top Senate Republican Chuck Grassley is urging Trump to let Mueller’s investigation work its course. That’s very different than him saying he would back a bill to stop the president legally from moving on the special counsel. It brings us to the great debate, and man, we have two good minds for you tonight. Former Federal Prosecutor and Former Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation, Mr. Robert Ray, and Former Federal Prosecutor and NYU Law professor, Anne Milgram.
It is very good to have you both. And let’s do this the easy way. We’ll do it pro-con in terms of this situation, OK?
ROBERT RAY, FORMER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR THE WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION: Sure.
CUOMO: Make a case to me, professor, that it would be OK to pass a law to stop the president of the United States from acting on his responsibilities over law enforcement.
ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, remember, there used to be an independent counsel act which Bob could probably speak to at length that did sort of set forth what independent counsels could and could not do. That bill lapsed. It wasn’t renewed.
CUOMO: Did it allow that the president could not fire a special counsel?
MILGRAM: I’m going to have to turn to my —
CUOMO: Robert Ray?
RAY: The president could fire, but then there was recourse.
CUOMO: All right. So the idea of pro-scribing, not allowing him to fire him, why is that OK?
MILGRAM: Remember also that for the president to fire — for anyone to fire Bob Mueller now, there would have to be a report to the House Judiciary Committee, and there would have to be cause that Mueller had done something wrong. So just to be clear, it’s not like you can just say —
CUOMO: Can’t do it on a whim.
MILGRAM: Exactly. You have to be able to make a case, and that case could arguably be made public as well.
CUOMO: Why don’t we want this kind of law?
RAY: I think there’s some real serious question about whether it’s constitutional. I’m not even sure first of all that it’s other than an academic exercise because I don’t think the votes are there to actually enact that legislation.
CUOMO: And this is a political process, so that’s what matters.
RAY: I guess that right. I’m sort of a bottom line practical person. I think we’re talking about something I don’t think is likely to happen. You know, look, also things have changed. You know, both parties lived through independent counsel world, —
RAY: — and they came away if they didn’t agree on anything, the one thing that they agreed on a bipartisan basis is that they’ve both been victims of it and they didn’t want it.
CUOMO: They didn’t like it. All right so —
RAY: So I think that’s a practical answer to the question. There’s wisdom in that. The second thing is a constitutional matter is that, you know, the constitutionality of the independent counsel statute was endorsed by the Supreme Court eight to one…