Mueller Probe of Russian Meddling Faces Budget Threat

WASHINGTON (CN) – Like a poison pill in the corporate world, a Florida Republican introduced a legislative amendment to sink Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Filed on Aug. 24 as part of a must-pass spending bill, the measure put forward by Rep. Ron DeSantis is two-pronged.

In addition to removing funding for the probe within six months of passage, the measure would prohibit Mueller’s team from investigating any matters occurring prior to the June 2015 launch of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The amendment is one of hundreds filed to the spending bill, which the House is expected to consider when it returns from summer recess next week.

It is uncertain, however, which of the amendments will make it to the House floor for a vote. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the House Rules Committee have the authority to discard amendments they consider not relevant, or out of order, and House members can also vote amendments down in committee.

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has previously voiced support Mueller, calling him “anything but” a Democratic partisan. The speaker has also said that Mueller should be able to finish his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including an investigation of whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with that effort.

In a statement from his Washington office about why he put forth the measure, DeSantis said the order from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein implementing Mueller’s probe invited “a fishing expedition” because it failed to identify a crime for the special counsel to investigate.

“Congress should use its spending power to clarify the scope and limit the duration of this investigation,” the statement said. “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.”

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