GOP Rep's Proposal Would Defund Mueller Probe After 6 Months
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has proposed an amendment to the upcoming federal spending bill that would "severely curtail" Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of President Trump after six months.
The congressman's amendment stipulates that no funds from the spending package "may be used to fund activities pursuant to [the special counsel probe] later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act."
It would also limit the scope of the investigation to matters that occurred after June 2015, when Trump began his presidential campaign.
Mueller has been investigating alleged collusion between the Russian government and people on the Trump campaign, but the investigation has reportedly drifted into Trump's business dealings in recent weeks.
The amendment is one of hundreds filed to a government spending package the House is expected to consider when it returns next week from the August recess. The provision is not guaranteed a vote on the House floor; the House Rules Committee has wide leeway to discard amendments it considers out of order.
In a statement, DeSantis said the order appointing Mueller as special counsel "didn't identify a crime to be investigated and practically invites a fishing expedition."
"Congress should use its spending power to clarify the scope and limit the duration of this investigation," he explained. Deputy Attorney General Rod "Rosenstein has said that the DOJ doesn't conduct fishing expeditions; the corollary to this admonition should be that Congress will not fund a fishing expedition."
Several House Democrats are pushing amendments to protect the Mueller probe.
For instance, Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, proposed a measure to prohibit the Justice Department from obstructing Mueller’s work.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) serves as chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, which oversees the rules of the House and the congressional budget process. It is the group of congressmen on this committee who will likely be deciding whether those amendments should be considered or whether they are out of regular order.
In an interview with the New York Times back in July, Trump said that Mueller would be crossing a red line if he started looking at Trump family finances going beyond any Russia connection.
''I think that's a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said.
Mueller, the very next day, plunged across the "red line" into what some are calling a "fishing expedition."
Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer worried in a recent appearance on Special Report that the unlimited investigation could lead to a constitutional crisis.
"We are possibly headed toward a cliff," he said.
"The problem with special prosecutors is, you assemble a team ... of the best of the best in search of a crime," Krauthammer explained. "Normally you have a crime, and then the prosecutors go out and try to prove it."