Sen. Susan Collins announced her support Friday for legislation that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being summarily ousted by President Trump or new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
Ms. Collins, Maine Republican, urged the Senate to take up the legislation when it returns after a weeks-long pre-election vacation.
She said the legislation would prevent Mr. Mueller from being fired without “good cause,” detailed in writing. It would also require that anyone doing the firing be in a Senate-confirmed position.
That would remove power from Mr. Whitaker, who is chief of staff at the Justice Department — a post that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.
“Senate debate and passage of this bill would send a powerful message that Mr. Mueller must be able to complete his work unimpeded,” Ms. Collins said in a statement.
Mr. Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with Mr. Whitaker, leapfrogging others in the line of succession.
The move left Democrats furious. They predicted it presaged an effort to curtail Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which is looking at the 2016 election, Russian meddling and Trump campaign figures.