We’re about to find out how stable and genius-y Donald Trump really is. After his Twitter bender Tuesday morning declaring “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT” and his tirade Monday night exclaiming “We’ll see” about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, aides are trying to talk Trump down, writes the New York Times.
Mr. Trump’s advisers have spent the last 24 hours trying to convince the president not to make an impulsive decision that could put the president in more legal jeopardy and ignite a controversy that could consume his presidency, several people close to Mr. Trump said.
Trump is particularly perturbed with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reportedly both decided that the information turned up by Robert Mueller should be kicked to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and personally signed off on the FBI’s decision to raid the office of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer.
The problem for Trump now is that if he moves to shut down the Mueller investigation in some way, the evidence that probe has unearthed will continue to exist. Additionally, no matter what happens to the Mueller investigation, law enforcement officials in the Southern District of New York have now initiated a separate investigation. As Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post writes:
With the referral of the investigation of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, this thing has now spread beyond the president’s ability to contain it. What is he going to do: Fire the entire Southern District? This is a wildfire Trump has to let burn; he can’t put it out — probably not even with a spate of mass pardons.
Finally, there’s the risk that trying to remove Mueller or Rosenstein or otherwise extinguish the investigation might, just might, actually jolt awake an otherwise totally compliant GOP Congress.
Maybe congressional Republicans would roll over for a Mueller firing, too — there’s no underestimating this Republican Party — but why risk it?
In fact, signs are actually emerging that some Republicans may have awoken. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina reasserted Tuesday: “I am confident that that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency and he’s not going to do that.”
In addition, Republican Sen. Tom Tillis of North Carolina urged Congress to move on his bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware shielding Mueller from unwarranted interference by Trump.
Sen. Tillis says he wants the Judiciary Commitee to approve his bill to protect the special counsel NOW
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) April 10, 2018
It still remains to be seen whether Republicans could rediscover their spines in the event that Trump goes ballistic.