Donald Trump called the story that he tried to fire special counsel Robert Muller “fake news,” even though it was confirmed by everyone from the New York Times to Fox. But maybe the reason Trump was so dismissive of the idea that he would send the former FBI director packing is because firing him simply wasn’t enough.
Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.
“Here’s how it would work: ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won’t be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'” said one Trump adviser.
That’s the entire purpose of the many investigations into the nine-year-old Uranium One matter launched by top congressional sycophant Devin Nunes. While most of the news reporting on these investigations has focused on the ill-defined relationship to Hillary Clinton, the real objective is to say that Mueller—who was FBI director at the time of the deal—failed to properly vet the deal and could be guilty of corruption. Not that Republicans have any evidence. But as Nunes demonstrated with his #ReleaseTheMemo memo, evidence is no longer a concern. Republicans can make up any story they want, refuse to release the supporting documents, stifle any Democratic opposition, and count on the support of talk radio, conservative websites, Fox News, and thousands of Russian bots to make the sale.
The usual crew of Trump supporters in Congress were already on the indict Mueller bandwagon last year.
“It’s time for Attorney General Sessions to start leading and appoint a second special counsel so that the American people can get the truth and the answers they deserve.”
The only purpose of that second special counsel: indict the first. It’s an extension of the same tactics that Trump and his team have been using throughout the investigation—fire some, dirty up the rest.
And with Mueller being the one man that so many are still pinning their hopes on to bring this issue to a fair conclusion, he’s clearly the person most vulnerable to dirty tricks.
Trump — who trusts no one, or at least no one for long — has now decided that he must have an alternative strategy that does not involve having Justice Department officials fire Mueller.
That strategy is the same one that Trump has directed at Hillary Clinton and at James Comey. It’s his universal solution for handling anyone he sees as a political opponents.
And with this week’s demonstration that the Congress will actively aid and abet Trump’s abuses, he has every reason to believe it will happen.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.