The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula. The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.
If there’s a legal way to fire Mueller, we should expect it.
As Republicans push to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it’s Republicans who are also preventing that protection.
“We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Tuesday. He does not believe President Donald Trump will fire Mueller, so legislation to protect special counsel is impractical.
Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, prompting Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller to independently investigate.
Trump reportedly tried to fire Mueller twice last year after reports surfaced of the investigation into Trump’s campaign team and its ties to Russia and payments to women who’ve alleged affairs with the president. But can the President fire him? The answer isn’t very clear.
“We’ve been advised that the President certainly has the power to make that decision,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
But, the Department of Justice is less certain than Sanders. Regulations stipulate Rosenstein is the only person who can fire the Special Counsel. But constitutional authority says the president can fire anyone in the executive branch, which encompasses the Office of Special Counsel. Yet, Trump firing Mueller for disliking the investigation into the Trump administration could bring impeachment proceedings.
The answer is clear as mud. But, the idea of impeachment isn’t stopping Trump from being outspoken about the investigation.
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
Even a press conference on Syria turned into talks of firing Mueller.
Journalists recognize Trump wants to talk about the firing.
“And when we were leaving the room, the president mouthed to me, ‘Thank you.’ I think he wanted to get that off his chest and he wanted the question that I posed to him yesterday. And so, that’s the reason why you see this answer being rerun constantly on 24-hour cable. It is news that the president is contemplating — it sounds like — possibly removing Bob Mueller from his position as special counsel.” Kevin Decker, a Fox News Radio White House Correspondent said in an interview about his question to Trump, ‘‘Why don’t you just fire Mueller?”
Trump wants to fire the Special Counsel. The only reason he hasn’t is because his legal team hasn’t figured out how to do it legally yet.
But, firing Mueller won’t stop the investigation. It can thwart the current effort.
Can Trump fire Mueller? Republicans, like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, don’t want to explore the answer.
We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) March 20, 2018
If a legal expert can find a reason to get rid of Mueller, we can expect Trump’s famous line to follow: “You’re fired!”