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Senate Panel Passes Measure To Protect Special Counsel Investigators

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) - A bipartisan bill to protect special counsel investigators is one step closer to a full vote in the Senate.

The bill was conceived after President Donald Trump increased his attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - the men in charge of the Russian meddling investigation.

By a vote of 14-7, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that protects Mueller from being fired. Four Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel has vowed to keep the bill from getting a vote in the full Senate.

"Let me also add a 14-7 vote out of the Senate Judiciary Committee which we just had on this measure, I hope will be noted by the Senate Majority leader. This is an issue that should come to the floor," said Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL.

Trump has increased his attacks on Mueller, Rosenstein, and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, repeatedly calling it a witch hunt.

"We could do something here today that can provide common sense pragmatic checks and balances to executive authority," said Senator Corey Booker, D-NJ.

The bill makes sure special counsel investigators are free to independently do their work. It also delays any firing of a special counsel investigator for 10 days while the decision is appealed to a panel of judges.

Some Republicans argued that the bill is unconstitutional, but committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley argued that Congress does have an oversight role to play in the separation of power.

"Transparency and accountability are very much in the public's business. The public's business ought to be public except for national security or privacy," said Grassley.

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