Cicilline Seeks to Preserve Evidence Gathered By Special Counsel

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) is joining today with Congressmen Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), and Ted Lieu (CA-33) to introduce the Special Counsel Transparency Act, a bill to preserve the important work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in the event that President Trump fires him.

“As President Trump continues to threaten the Special Counsel’s investigation, there is a clear need to ensure he cannot bury any evidence that’s already been uncovered,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This bill will preserve Special Counsel Mueller’s work regardless of any action the President takes in the days ahead.”

The Special Counsel Transparency Act would:

  • In the event the Special Counsel is removed, require the Special Counsel to provide a report to congressional leadership and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees detailing the status of the investigation and facts found as of the date of dismissal.
    • This report shall include any evidence of criminal activity that implicates the President, any person within the Executive Office of the President, or any political officer, including evidence protected by grand jury secrecy rules.
  • Prohibit the prosecution of the Special Counsel for any disclosures made to Congress pursuant to this bill.
  • Require the Department of Justice to provide a comparable report to Congress detailing the status of the investigation and facts found.

The Special Counsel Transparency Act has been endorsed by Open the Government, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Sunlight Foundation, and Project on Government Oversight.

“Amid President Trump’s ongoing baseless attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, we move ever closer to a crisis that will impact the entire country,” said Congressman Doggett. “As Trump tries to insulate himself from accountability, we must ensure that the Special Counsel’s work is not buried and our democracy is not destroyed. This legislation would ensure that a President, who has shown so little respect for the rule of law, cannot seize and secret any evidence of misconduct already gathered by law enforcement.”

Congressman Raskin said, “We must do everything in our power to stop the Special Counsel from being fired, but if he is fired, we must at all costs prevent the White House or its designees from destroying more than a year’s worth of evidence and work product of the Special Counsel. We must preserve the evidence.”

“Firing Special Counsel Mueller would be an assault on our democracy,” said Congressman Lieu. “The American people have a right to know the findings of this investigation. If the President tries to obstruct justice by firing Mr. Mueller, we have a duty to preserve the integrity of the investigation. This bill does just that.  It ensures documents and relevant materials aren’t tampered with or destroyed, and as such allows the investigation to proceed.”

“The Special Counsel Transparency Act would protect the Special Counsel's investigation by triggering the disclosure of evidence to Congress in the event of the Mueller's dismissal, which helps prevent a cover-up, protects any evidence of wrongdoing, and reasserts Congress's relevance to the investigation, all at the same time,” said John Wonderlich, Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation. “Congress should carefully consider and then pass this bill, and quickly.”

“We strongly support the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, because it’s imperative that Congress exercise its oversight power to see Robert Mueller’s investigation through to the end,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “All documents that pertain to this investigation must be preserved and conclusions shared, so we can protect our system of checks and balances, ensure the peoples’ right to know, demand accountability if wrongdoing occurred, and increase trust in future elections.”

 

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