No, the president has no plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
At least, that’s the assurance coming from the White House, and if a new report from the Washington Post is accurate, President Trump doesn’t really blame Robert Mueller for the direction of the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, or any collusion or obstruction that may also be hinged to that interference.
Trump is reserving his ire for those who made Robert Mueller’s investigation a thing.
Make no mistake: There is a steady, rolling effort by the administration and its propagandists to discredit the investigation. It includes also eroding public faith in those institutions that keep our citizens informed and safe.
The constant attacks, whether warranted or not, on the media (except Fox News, which is close enough to an American Pravda that we should all be deeply concerned), as well as our intelligence community are designed – that’s designed, not an honest reflex – to create the illusion of Trump as the only purveyor of truth and safety.
In fact, one of the dullards of Fox News went so far as to refer to Mueller’s investigation as a “coup” over the weekend.
At the moment the word left his lips, Jesse Watters should have been hauled from the set of his show and forced to undergo a psychological exam, or at the very least, a basic Civics test.
When asked on Sunday if he was considering firing Mueller, Trump responded with a negative.
Advisers who have spoken recently with Trump about the Russia investigation said the president was sharply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller operation — but did not broach the idea of firing Mueller.
“I think he realizes that would be a step too far,” said one adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a private conversation.
It absolutely would, and there are more than a few groups waiting with bated breath to pounce, should the president attempt to interfere with an ongoing investigation into possible corruption within this administration.
I’m saying “this administration” because those same people were somewhere navel gazing for the entirety of corrupt, disgusting practices by the Obama administration.
I’m not sure how much thought they’ve put into having anyone else connected to the investigation fired.
That may be Trump’s way of ending a probe that has inched closer and closer to his inner circle.
Rather, Trump appeared to be contemplating changes in the Justice Department’s leadership. In recent discussions, two advisers said, Trump has called the attorney general “weak,” and complained that Rosenstein has shown insufficient accountability on the special counsel’s work. A senior official said Trump mocked Rosenstein’s recent testimony on Capitol Hill, saying he looked weak and unable to answer questions. Trump has ranted about Rosenstein as “a Democrat,” one of these advisers said, and characterized him as a threat to his presidency.
Rosenstein (like Mueller) is a Republican. He was nominated to be the U.S. attorney in Maryland in 2005 by George W. Bush.
Trump, has nothing to stand on, as far as any personal, political ideology. It’s all pretty much opportunism and moves that benefit his brand that motivate him to act. With that in mind, it is those voices that stroke his ego and cater to his paranoia that get him to listen.
Trump has watched Fox News Channel segments attacking Mueller’s investigation, advisers said, including those by Jeanine Pirro, a former judge and prosecutor whose show is a Trump favorite and who has visited with the president in the White House.
On her Saturday night broadcast, Pirro railed against Strzok and Page, as well as Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. “The only thing that remains is whether we have the fortitude to not just fire these people immediately, but to take them out in cuffs,” Pirro said.
On what charges? You’re a judge, or used to be, right? You should back that up with some legal weight, instead of just throwing crazy at your audience.
“This bias is like an infection,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Friday on Fox Business Channel. “It’s like an incurable cancer that’s inoperable, and we’ve got to end this Mueller probe.”
It has been turned into a team sport, reason and the rule of law be damned.
They’re throwing flags on the field for what amounts to minor concerns, at most.
This weekend’s false flag came from a Trump team lawyer and, of course, Fox News, as they spread the notion that Mueller had obtained Trump transition team emails illegally.
In fact, in a toothless letter sent to some lawmakers by Kory Langhofer, counsel for Trump for America, it was noted that it wasn’t Mueller’s team that did anything offensive. Rather, the General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees those communications, turned the emails over to Mueller’s team.
That truth didn’t slow down some of the headlines, meant to channel outrage towards the Mueller investigation.
Some legal experts challenged Langhofer’s charge. Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor who teaches a course on white-collar crime at George Washington University Law School, said it was not surprising that Mueller’s team sought Trump transition emails.
“It’s not your personal email,” Eliason said. “If it ends in .gov, you don’t have any expectation of privacy.”
If Trump’s team had a valid legal claim, Eliason said, it would follow standard protocol of filing a sealed motion to the judge supervising the grand jury and ask the judge to provide a remedy, such as requiring Mueller’s team to return the emails or excluding their use in the investigation.
Well, there’s that.
Don’t expect the noise to lessen. Both sides will be saber-rattling for some time to come, unless, that is, the administration really does something ill-advised.
After that, it’s anybody’s guess just how bad the fallout will be.