In a blatant attempt to incur political favor from the president, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis recently introduced legislation that intends to restrict former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump and his associates while cutting off funding to the federal probe within six months. Instead of introducing the legislation as its own bill, Rep. DeSantis filed it as an amendment to a broad spending bill expected to keep the federal government in operation.
According to DeSantis’ amendment, the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference during last year’s election would cease to receive funding no more than 180 days after Congress approves the measure. The obstructive amendment would also restrict Mueller from investigating any relevant crimes that occurred before June 2015.
Due to the fact that the statute of limitations already exists and often extends beyond two years, DeSantis clearly drafted this amendment in an attempt to obstruct Mueller’s investigation into the president’s financial records and dubious associates. By hindering the special prosecutor’s probe, DeSantis has only exposed his lack of confidence in the president and his own fear that a legitimate investigation into Trump will eventually lead to criminal charges.
In a recent statement, DeSantis wrote, “The order appointing a special counsel promulgated by Deputy Attorney General (Rod) Rosenstein 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. 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.”
The Republican legislator slipped his amendment into a massive federal funding bill that the House of Representatives is expected to consider after returning next week from recess. Although the federal spending bill may be necessary to keep the government open for another fiscal year, the House Rules Committee possesses the authority to dismiss any amendments considered out of order.
To prevent Trump from abruptly firing Mueller without judicial review, two separate bipartisan measures have been introduced in recent weeks by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker, and Sens. Chris Coons and Thom Tillis respectively. Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowery also introduced a measure preventing the Justice Department from impeding Mueller’s investigation.
On Friday, Trump issued a presidential pardon to disgraced sheriff Joe Arpaio in order to send a strong message to the targets of Mueller’s probe: refuse to cooperate with the federal government, and you will receive a pardon. As Mueller’s team sifts through numerous false statements from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and several other Trump associates, the special prosecutor can no longer build an effective case unless criminal charges are also filed against the president. Trump cannot pardon himself.