Appropriations Democrats Introduce Amendment to Prevent Interference in Special Counsel Investigation
Appropriations Democrats today introduced an amendment to the 2018 Commerce Justice Science Appropriations bill to prohibit use of funds to “obstruct, hinder, frustrate, impede, or prevent any investigative work” conducted by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller.
“It is imperative that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation be conducted completely free of meddling from the White House, the Department of Justice, or anyone else,” said Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY). “Daily false statements emanating from the President, his family, and his team indicate the Administration will go to any length to prevent an honest reckoning of their actions during the 2016 campaign. Congress absolutely must make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate meddling in this critical investigation.”
The amendment was defeated 23-29 as one Republican joined Democrats to make clear political interference in this critical investigation will not be tolerated.
The Commerce Justice Science bill provides annual funding for the U.S. Department of Justice, among other agencies. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, responsible for investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible obstruction of justice.
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed with a high degree of confidence that the Russian government engaged in an influence campaign in last year's election. And earlier this week Donald Trump, Jr. released emails that appear to acknowledge he sought political assistance from an individual he knew to be associated with the Russian government, as did White House advisor Jared Kushner and then-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort.
The amendment makes it clear that it is unlawful for Department of Justice or other employees to meddle in an investigation that is critical for Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the 2016 election and the institutions of our democracy.
Lowey continued, “Americans should all agree that this investigation is critical to confidence in our democracy and the institutions of our government, and it must be conducted in a fair and impartial way.”