Today’s press conference gave Sarah Huckabee Sanders the first chance to make an official White House response to the raids on Michael Cohen’s office and home. And what was her follow up to Donald Trump’s claims that executing a warrant was “breaking in,” that following the law was “a disgrace,” and that pursuing evidence of a crime was “an attack on this nation”?
Reporter: Sarah, talking about the raid on Michael Cohen’s office, the president said it’s an attack on our country, it’s an attack on what we all stand for. In what way is an FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office an attack on our country?
Sanders: I think the president is clear that he feels it’s gone too far.
Reporter: That makes it an attack on our country?
Sanders: I’ll leave it at that.
Trump apparently believes he is the Fisher King. He and the land are one. And the king has one other mistaken belief.
Reporter: Does the president believe he has the power to fire Robert Mueller?
Sanders: I believe he feel he does.
And that … seemed to be the limit of what Sarah Sanders knew. Has Trump talked to Rod Rosenstein, Christopher Wray, Jeff Sessions? Does he still have confidence in them? Would Trump still like to talk to Mueller? All met with a shrug. In fact, the only thing else interesting in Sander’s statements was just how much she didn’t know.
Reporter: Does Michael Cohen still represent the president?
Sanders: I’m not sure. I’d refer you to Michael Cohen on that.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell knows one thing — how to mouth platitudes, while doing nothing.
McConnell once again joined the chorus of Republican voices loudly supporting doing zip-diddly to safeguard the interests of the nation.
McConnell: I haven’t seen clear indication yet that we need to pass something to keep him from being removed because I don’t think that’s going to happen. … It’s still my view that Mueller should be allowed to finish his job…I don’t think he’s gonna be removed, I think he’ll be allowed to finish his job.
Asked what would happen if Mueller was removed, despite McConnell views and thoughts, the Senate Republican leader refused to answer, saying he didn’t want to deal with “hypotheticals.”
What’s not hypothetical: Republicans are leaving the door open for Trump to remove Mueller and end the investigation. They won’t move to protect Mueller in advance, though they clearly could. They won’t make any promise of action should Trump act against Mueller, though they obviously should.
Because of course they won’t. Sarah Sanders is right. Trump does believe that he has the power to fire Mueller. Republicans in Congress are giving him that power by refusing to take any action that would protect the special counsel in any way. Even the idea that removing Mueller would actually take a series of steps, including possibly dismissing Rosenstein or even Sessions, and waiting for a replacement, is a theory that only holds if someone enforces the rules.
And these Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell, have demonstrated again and again that the rules do not interest them. They’ll be quite happy to see Mueller gone, so they can devote more time to gutting Social Security and plotting their next tax cut.