Senate Republicans refuse the idea of defunding the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller which is looking at Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. They wouldn’t support that because they have confidence in Mueller, The Hill reports.
“I would not support that. He needs to continue to investigate. I have confidence in Bob Mueller,” Senator Jeff Flake said.
Senator Roy Blunt, who is a member of the leadership of the Republican Party, is also not for it. He said that he has no worries that lawmakers would try to defund Mueller. Senator John McCain, known as a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, is also against the possible move. The Republicans think that Mueller should remain in his post until the end of the probe.
“He’s doing the job he’s been asked by the American people to do. He should stay at it and finish it,” Senator James Lankford told Huffington Post.
In the meantime, according to several reports, former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon urged Trump to take a more aggressive stance against the investigation and to urge Republicans to cut off funding for the special counsel’s office. Sources close to Bannon deny that there was some kind of conversation between him and Trump about Mueller. They also say that Bannon doesn’t want Trump to draw more attention to the funding.
Mueller is a former FBI director and he is very respected in the Congress. That’s why the possible push to defund him would not be supported. In order to limit or nix Mueller’s funding, Senate GOP leadership would need 60 votes.
Mueller’s investigation is funded out of a permanent Treasury Department account and that gives lawmakers an option of inserting a rider into an appropriations bill or passing stand-alone bills to limit the funding. The probe is overseen by the Justice Department.