Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel?

Donald Trump. a/k/a Der  Trumpenführer,  seemingly learned nothing from his misguided firing of James Comey.  Now, Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media, a "news outlet" that specializes in right wing fake news (or, at best, wildly distorted news), says that Trump is considering firing Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller.  If Trump has nothing to hide - something I view as extremely unlikely - he certainly continues to act as if he knows that foul deeds and possible crimes will be discovered.  He also seems to be utterly ignorant of the timeline of the Watergate scandal and that his acts appear as if they are emulating those of Richard Nixon.  Acts that led to Nixon's resignation.  A piece in the New York Times looks at this latest possible offense against democratic government by Der Trumpenführer.  Here are excerpts:
A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials.
The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility.
The friend, Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media, who was at the White House on Monday, said on PBS’s “NewsHour” that Mr. Trump was “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel.” “I think he’s weighing that option,” Mr. Ruddy said.
His comments appeared to take the White House by surprise.
Allies of the president cast doubt on the idea that Mr. Trump would take such a drastic step, and White House officials said Mr. Ruddy had not met directly with the president while he was there.
Firing Mr. Mueller would be a politically explosive move that would raise new questions about Mr. Trump, whose abrupt dismissal of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director generated accusations of obstruction of justice and led to Mr. Mueller’s appointment.
Under Justice Department rules, Mr. Trump would seemingly have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to rescind department regulations protecting a special counsel from being fired for no good reason, and then to fire Mr. Mueller. If Mr. Rosenstein refused, Mr. Trump could fire him, too — a series of events that would recall the “Saturday Night Massacre” during Watergate, when President Richard M. Nixon sought to dismiss a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.
White House officials referred questions to Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, as they have recently on all matters relating to the Russia investigation. A spokesman for Mr. Kasowitz declined to comment.
The idea that the investigation is illegitimate and politically motivated has been gaining currency on the political right for months. Conservative writers, radio hosts and cable personalities — emboldened by the president himself, who has called it a witch hunt — have repeatedly sought to discredit the inquiry, its investigators, the mainstream news accounts of it, and the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are demanding more answers. Democrats accused Republicans on Monday of beginning a campaign to smear Mr. Mueller’s reputation as he engages in a broad investigation that could include whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice by pressuring Mr. Comey to end parts of the inquiry and then by firing him.
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, scoffed at the idea that the president might fire Mr. Mueller.
“If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller,” Mr. Schiff said in a tweet. “Don’t waste our time.”
The independent counsel statute, passed after Watergate, allowed the appointment of a prosecutor who would look into high-level executive branch wrongdoing and answer to a panel of judges, and who could not be fired by the president, as Mr. Nixon sought to do.
Congress let it lapse when it expired in 1999.
It would take a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers of Congress to overcome Mr. Trump’s likely veto of any similar legislation. It is far from clear that Mr. Schiff’s proposal could command such support.

Trump is and always has been unfit for office.  Worse yet, he thinks he is above the law.  Should he fire Mueller, the Vichy Republicans will have nowhere to hide and will have to choose between a lawless autocrat and constitutional government. Given the nature of today's GOP, I cannot feel very warm and fuzzy about the choice they would make.

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