After due deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that Robert Mueller ain’t going nowhere. Who’d a thunk it? Blarah Flackabee Slanders actually capable of telling the truth for once when she says “The President has no intention of firing the special counsel.” There are several reasons why I now believe that Mueller is safe, and by extension most likely Jeff sessions and Rod Rosenstein as well.
First of all, it’s too late. What most people tend to forget is that when Robert Mueller was appointed, he didn’t have to start from scratch. Mueller hit the ground running, the FBI had been actively investigating the Trump-Russia connection since July of the previous year. There’s a reason events seem to be moving at breakneck speed, a 9 month head start. An incredible amount of information has already come out, and that’s just the tip of what Mueller knows. Mueller has interviewed too many witnesses, and collected too much information.
Next, Mueller is no babe in the woods, he went into this with his eyes wide open. Trump slammed his appointment from day one, and with his machinations, it quickly became clear that he wanted to cut Mueller off at the knees as quickly as possible. Consensus from legal minds on CNN and MSNBC is that Mueller planned early. From day one, he started working on his “prosecutorial parachute.” On a weekly, if not daily basis, fresh, confirmed information went into the draft in progress for his report to Rod Rosenstein. And if team Mueller’s court filings are anything to go by, it is exquisitely detailed and laid out. Were Mueller to feel he was about to be fired, his last act would be to have the most current copy if his report couriered over to Rosenstein. And, since we’re paying for the paper anyway, why not shoot a copy over to the relevant congressional committees? And if he was feeling vindictive, I’m sure most of the major media outlets would sign for the package. Mueller won’t let his work product b e buried.
Third, Mueller is not monolithic. There’s a good reason why Mueller assembled such a rich team of talent in so many areas. Mueller heads the investigation, but he is not the investigation. He made clear in a court filing weeks ago that were anything to happen to him, the prosecutors he put in charge of each team working on separate aspects of the investigation were fully capable of continuing on with their own cases unimpeded. To grind the investigation to a halt, Trump would not only have to fire Mueller, he’d have to fire all of the prosecutors working on the subset cases, a daunting task, as well as an optics nightmare. And, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, if he wanted to end the collusion investigation, he’d not only have to pardon Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Jared, Don Jr, and possibly Ivanka, he’d have to pardon 13 indicted Russians as well to stop the cases. Try flying that one in for a smooth landing. Call me goofy, but I believe that Mueller has a whole stack of sealed indictments, ready to unseal at the first sign of trouble, all separate cases, all with separate prosecutors ready to carry on after his demise.
But, to my mind, the biggest reason Trump can’t fire Mueller is because he needs him too damn much. Right now, Trump needs Mueller the way a horse player needs a bookie. Trump is using Mueller to extort loyalty from the rank and file GOP caucus members. He’s freakin’ fund raising off of Mueller and “the 13 angry Democrats.” It is his #1 go to line to rile up the base at his rallies. Mueller is his favorite Twitter obsession, to the point where whenever I see the words “WITCH HUNT!” I automatically think to myself, “Oh, shit! Did Trump divorce Melania, and he’s dating again?” While Sessions may well be Trump’s “favorite pinata to take a stick to,” Mueller is the one subject that Trump already knows is not only guaranteed to whip up his base, but he’s also the overriding distraction for anything Trump doesn’t want to be noticed. Hence, Rudy the Rube’s eager willingness to flog that deceased equine. If Mueller were to disappear tomorrow, what would trump have left to drum up GOP enthusiasm heading into the midterms? His tax cuts? Trump requires a tribal “us vs them” mentality to survive, and Robert Mueller is the ultimate “them.”
To say that I’m never wrong would be an overstatement, and a subject that Teri would be more than happy to enlighten you on. But when you stop listening to Trump, and the carnival barking of the mainstream media, it becomes apparent that the time for firing Robert Mueller is long past. Not only would it be politically risky, but the simple fact is that firing Mueller wouldn’t have the desired effect of taking the probe out of action. It’s gone too far, and too many dominoes have already tipped over.