ACTION 158: Can Trump Fire Mueller?
Independent Counselor Robert Mueller has now expanded his investigation about possible collusion between Trump and Russia to include whether or not Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI director James Comey.
This announcement comes after Mueller met with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee to coordinate their investigations yesterday. Preceding all this was speculation that Trump was considering firing Mueller, though official word from the White House is he isn't (but we all know how that goes.).
But since Mueller is independent and was hired by Deputy Atty. General Rosenstein can Trump actually fire him? What would that look like?
Because Atty. Gen. Sessions recused himself, the authority to fire Mueller lies with Dept. Atty. Gen. Rosenstein. Trump could in fact direct Rosenstein to fire Mueller but Rosenstein could only do so for "misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or for other good cause," Thus far, Rosenstein has said that he will only fire Mueller for good cause and that he didn't ancipate that would happen. If Rosenstein refused, Trump would have to fire him and then demand that the next in command fire Mueller and so on. If this sounds familiar - that's because it's happened before.
One argument is that Trump's end game isn't to fire Mueller at all but to poison the well and make the public distrust Mueller and any future findings from the investigation. This is really important to keep in mind as the investigation progresses. Trump will be using his large social media presence to continue to undermine the investigation.
Just a reminder here that with so much coming out of this administration we cannot be distracted by the latest event dominating the news cycle; we have to pay attention to stories even when they aren't headlining because the opposition certainly is.