FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation won’t come up for a vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday.
The comments came in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' resignation, which President Trump asked for on Wednesday. Sessions has been criticized by Trump for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. In his place, Trump appointed Matt Whitaker as the interim attorney general; he was formerly Sessions' chief of staff.
Mueller is in charge of investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 election. The findings could potentially spell disaster for the oval office.
Outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake (of Arizona) and Democrats have pushed for a bill to ensure that Mueller can complete his investigation, but McConnell has repeatedly said measures to protect Mueller are “unnecessary” and has refused to bring the measure to the Senate floor for a vote.
McConnell also said that Trump has given not given any signs that he plans to dismiss Mueller or stop the investigation.
“As you can imagine, we speak frequently, and there’s never been an indication that (Trump) wants to dismiss Mueller or his investigation,” McConnell said. “He’s going to be allowed to finish.”
Whitaker has refused to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, despite making previous comments questioning its legitimacy. His appointment has raised concerns that Trump might try to stop the investigation.
When asked if Whitaker should recuse himself, McConnell demurred.
“I don’t have any advice to give to the administration on that,” McConnell said Friday.
The Senate Majority Leader was then specifically asked if in light of his previous comments there were concerns that Whitaker might suppress or stifle the report.
“I can’t imagine something like that would happen,” McConnell said. “It’s not going to happen. I’m confident it’s not going to happen.”
When asked about the recent wave of mass shootings, McConnell called the crimes “horrendous” but said gun control was not the answer. Instead, he blamed what he called the “recent trend” to not institutionalize or commit mentally ill people, and implied that may be contributing to the mass violence.
McConnell also said Kentucky Republicans are in “great shape going into Governor Bevin’s re-election."
His top two priorities for this year are passing a farm bill and to finish funding for the 25 percent of government functions which haven’t been funded yet.
If a farm bill passes, McConnell said it will include a measure allowing the use and production of industrial hemp.