A lack of witnesses for 2018 has Democrat lawmakers wondering if this means President Trump is planning to shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) commented on the “rumors” on Capitol Hill this week:

“The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller,” Speier told California’s KQED News.

Speier, a member on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Trump was trying to shut down the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, pointing to the lack of interviews scheduled for the new year.

That’s not really a new rumor, so much as it’s a rehashed rumor.

That particular buzz has been something that has been bandied about since Mueller was first appointed by Deputy District Attorney Rod Rosenstein in May. Only optics have held him back, because he’s certainly groused about the very idea of a special counsel to look into Russian meddling, and any interference from Trump or his team, since day one.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the final witnesses to speak before the House Intelligence Committee in their Russia probe were scheduled, but none had been lined up for 2018, yet.

“We can read between the lines I think,” Speier said. “I believe this president wants all of this shut down. He wants to shut down these investigations, and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller.”

That requires no line reading, in between, or otherwise.

Trump wants this all to go away. He has insisted from the beginning that there was nothing there. He, according to his own word, fired former FBI Director James Comey because he wouldn’t end the Russia probe. He desperately wants to pull the trigger on Mueller.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) is going one further, and thinks Republicans, as a whole, want to see Mueller’s investigation stopped.

“Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017 [sic]. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on,” he tweeted Friday.

He meant 2018 there, folks.

The president and Republican loyalists got a boost when it was revealed that an FBI agent working with Mueller’s team, Peter Strzok, and his mistress, an FBI attorney, Lisa Page, had exchanged derogatory text messages about Trump.

The president and his MAGA troops have jumped on this to paint the entire FBI as corrupted partisans, and certainly Robert Mueller’s team.

If there’s any truth to the rumor, look for Trump to really push the corruption angle, even though Mueller fired Strzok back in July, as soon as he found out about the text messages.

If he fires him, however, he’d better pray that 2018 doesn’t see a blue wave, because without partisan loyalists – establishment or otherwise – in the House and Senate, Trump becomes a short timer. Those articles of impeachment that keep popping up could have some real teeth, this time.