Senate Republicans Block Vote on Mueller Protection Bill

"To be so sanguine about the prospects of (Mueller) being fired is folly for us," said Sen. Jeff Flake, one of the bill's advocates

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Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

A bill that would have protected special counsel Robert Mueller was blocked by Senate Republicans Wednesday over the objections of one member of the party threatening to hold up judicial nominations, NBC News reported.

The effort to safeguard Mueller and his probe into Russian election meddling gained new momentum this month after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a loyalist who criticized the Russia probe before joining the administration.

Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., threatened to withhold his key vote on the judiciary committee for Trump judges unless the bill got a vote, saying on the Senate floor, "To be so sanguine about the prospects of (Mueller) being fired is folly for us."

But his fellow Republican, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, objected to a request for unanimous consent to proceed on that full vote, dashing hopes that the bill would progress.

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