Can Trump 'You're Fired' Robert Mueller? A Guide To Our Inevitable Constitutional Crisis
Happy Mueller Monday! Wanna watch the Manafort perp walk again? Come on, you know you do!
— CNN (@CNN) October 30, 2017
Have you read the Papadopoulos plea yet? HOLY WOW is it a DOOZY!
It seems this time the wingnut media might have come a bit too soon in screaming for Mueller's head. They might look at LITTLE stupid now. Because honestly, check out this nonsense from the Wall Street Journal editorial board, outdoing itself once again.
Mr. [House Speaker Paul] Ryan should also reinstall Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes as lead on the Russia investigation, since it appears the Democratic accusations against him were aimed in part at throwing him off the Fusion trail.
All of this also raises questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Fusion news means the FBI’s role in Russia’s election interference must now be investigated -- even as the FBI and Justice insist that Mr. Mueller’s probe prevents them from cooperating with Congressional investigators.
Mr. Mueller is a former FBI director, and for years he worked closely with Mr. Comey. It is no slur against Mr. Mueller’s integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years.
Sorry, did the WSJ just say that Devin Nunes was framed by the Democrats and the FBI to hide a conspiracy involving Russia, the DNC and the FBI? WHAT THE FUCK??????
Clearly, the howler monkeys are laying the groundwork for Trump to fire Robert Mueller. But can he do that? Let's Lawsplore!!!
Remember back in May when Donald Trump huddled up with rancid weenus Stephen Miller and decided he'd kill the Russia investigation by firing James Comey? Remember how he conned deputy AG Rod Rosenstein into destroying his own reputation by drafting the memo saying that Comey had to go because he was so mean to Hillary Clinton? Remember how Rosenstein attempted to salvage his good name by immediately appointing Mueller as Special Counsel? Well, keep remembering all that stuff, please!
Under the Special Counsel Regulation, Mueller can only be fired by Rod Rosenstein, and for good cause.
The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies. The Attorney General shall inform the Special Counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal.
Murdoch Media is going full tilt to suggest that Mueller has a conflict of interest due to his friendship with James Comey, or made-up allegations against the FBI, or the fact that some of Mueller's investigators donated to Democrats, or any other shit that that bubbles up from the Infowars sewer. They know damn well that Mueller has no intention of resigning, and you can take it to the bank that Rosenstein will refuse to fire Mueller if Trump orders him to do it. Rosenstein lost his shit when he realized Trump was going to fire Comey and make him the fall guy. He won't put himself in that position again.
Lindsey Graham has said that, "Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency." Congress is full of craven sumbitches, so who knows what will happen if Trump does try to get rid of Mueller. (Psssssst, Poppy! After they get their tax cut through, they won't need you any more.) But you'll know that shit's about to hit the fan when you see Rosenstein heading for the exit.
In 1973, Nixon's AG and Deputy AG both resigned rather than fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. If Rosenstein resigns, then Trump's order to fire Mueller would land in Associate AG Rachel Brand's lap. Brand is no hack and would probably refuse to fire Mueller as well. Trump signed an Executive Order in March placing Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia next in line. But just last week, Trump fired Boente. WHICH IS VERY INTERESTING TIMING!
With Boente out and no successor confirmed by the Senate, Trump can turn to his own appointee, Robert Higdon, just confirmed in August as US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In the unlikely event that Higdon refused, Trump would then turn to a US Attorney in Texas. But with that many resignations, we might well find ourselves in a full-blown Constitutional crisis. And as Nixon wound up with Leon Jaworski replacing Cox, there's no guarantee that Mueller's replacement would be any more to Trump's liking.
There is another outside possibility for Trump to try to kill the entire investigation. Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith suggests in Lawfare that Trump might decide that HE IS THE LAW, and try to axe the Special Counsel rule by Executive Order.
The argument at bottom is that all executive power is vested in the President; law enforcement is at the core of Executive power [...] and the Special Counsel rule is just a regulation promulgated by the Executive Branch, not a law, and is thus ultimately subject to change or disregard by Executive order.
In other words, Trump might sign an Executive Order repealing the regulation authorizing the appointment of a Special Counsel, and the entire investigation would magically disappear. It's not clear if this would be legal, and God only knows what the fallout would be. But there are no guardrails in Trumpworld. There's no one to say, "You can't do that!" Just a lot of political hacks with everything to lose, betting that Congress will back them up whatever they do.
SHIT'S ABOUT TO GET WEIRD.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.