This would be such a massive self-inflicted wound.
Trump supporters have started arguing that following former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before Congress last Thursday, the services of Special Counsel Robert Mueller are no longer needed.
They’re advancing two cases. The first is that because Comey confirmed last Thursday that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation during the early weeks of his presidency — before Comey’s firing — there’s no good reason for Mueller’s investigation to continue.
The second case is that Mueller is unfit to investigate anything related to Comey because the two have a personal relationship and a professional respect for each other. Conservative columnist Byron York summarized this case in his latest column — a column shared on Twitter by Laura Ingraham, editor in chief of LifeZette, who’s rumored to be in the mix for a communications job in the White House:
York’s case overlooks that Mueller, who was appointed as FBI director in 2001 by Republican President George W. Bush, is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and was viewed as an impeccable choice by no less than Newt Gingrich at the time of his selection as special counsel last month.
CNN is reporting that Trump is taking this advice seriously, and all hell’s bustin’ loose at the White House or his other advisors try to talk him down.
PBS is reporting the same via Judy Woodruff.
Newsmax CEO and longtime Donald Trump confidante Chris Ruddy on Monday told PBS Newshour’s July Woodruff the president is “considering perhaps terminating” Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation.
So that’s not good. For Trump.
Ruddy when talking to Woodruff brings up two points. 1) The Mueller had been under consideration for FBI Director to replace Comey and did have one meeting with Trump about it and 2) Mueller’s firm WilmerHale has previously represented Ivanka, Jared and Manafort — however Mueller reportedly wasn’t directly involved in those cases, and the DOJ ethics office has the option to waive the conflict.
One prominent expert on government ethics rules said Wednesday that lawyers entering federal service would normally be required to recuse themselves from decisions regarding individuals who were represented by the new official’s former firm.
“It’s a possible wrinkle in all off this,” said Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. “Usually, there would be a one-year cooling off period.”
However Mueller according the WilmerHale themselves wasn’t assigned to any cases involving the Kushner’s or Manafort.
The co-managing director of Wilmer Hale told the website that Mueller did not play any part in the firm’s work on behalf of Manafort, Trump or Kushner.
So with that in mind, If the cases have been more than a year ago it doesn’t matter, and even it they were the issue can be waived by DOJ.
Besides Trump’s pick for new FBI Director Christopher Wray has far more devastating conflicts than this.
I’ve heard a report that Adam Schiff is saying congress will reinstate Mueller — I suppose by restoring the lapsed Independent Counsel statute which would put hiring and firing in the hands a three judge panel, but from what I’m hearing on CNN right now — the person who can fire Mueller is the person who hired him, Rosenstein. Of course Trump can fire Rosenstein if he refuses and oh-look-it’s the Tuesday Night Massacre, right when Sessions is scheduled to testify tomorrow.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) fired back at reports that President Trump is considering firing FBI special counsel Robert Mueller with a simple message to the president: “Don’t waste our time.”
“If President [Trump] fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller,” Schiff tweeted Monday evening. “Don’t waste our time.”
Governing by tweet. It’s madness, madness I say.
Besides firing Mueller wouldn’t end the inquiry. From what I can tell Rosenstein would have to implement the firing, but Trump could fire him if he refused placing things in the hands of Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand who was confirmed in May, then after that it would go to Dana Boente who is the US Attorney for Eastern Virginia who had been running the Russia investigation before Mueller. I think if Mueller is ultimately fired, even if Rosenstein and/or Brand go with him, things — possibly including his newly hired staff — just go back to Boente who would become Acting Deputy AG, again — as he had been previously under Sally Yates.
The probe just goes back to where it started and Trump has handcuffed himself with blood all over the dance floor.