A bill exists right now, somewhere in the hard drives of some congressional computers, called “The Special Counsel Integrity Act.” As the name implies, it ensures that any termination action against the Special Counsel’s office be done in good faith, with integrity. The act states that only a “Senior Justice Department Official” could terminate the special counsel, and that the termination must be for “good cause.” Additionally, the bill sets up a procedure by which the special counsel – upon receiving termination for good cause – could file an emergency action in court, such that a judge would decide whether “good cause” existed. The inclusion of judicial review is a critical addition. Hypothetically, a Trump stooge at DOJ could state that “good cause” existed to fire Mueller because Mueller had the audacity to request Deutsche Bank records pertaining to Trump business and seeking such records falls outside the scope of the investigation. Ironically, this matches the scenario Trump believed to be true in December when he last moved to fire Mueller prior to being stopped. The Hill:
Trump reportedly tried to fire Mueller after he became enraged over reports that the special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records on Trump’s finances.
However, Mueller’s team told the White House that the reports were inaccurate and the president backed off from the move, the Times reported.
In such an instance, the judge could make a ruling, “No, Mr. President, the fact that an investigator is getting really close to the ‘good evidence’ is not ‘good cause’ to fire the investigator.”
(Incidentally, if Trump believed that going after those bank records created a need to fire Mueller, would you not, if you were Mueller, immediately go and get those records just the second Trump started paying attention to something else?”)
Sounds like a good bill, correct? A “no-brainer.” After all, Republicans such as Grassley, Graham, even Enzi, have all said it would be a grave mistake for Trump to fire the special counsel. So, why has it not been passed?
In situations such as this, it is likely best to ask our dear friend Occam and borrow his razor (I hesitate to invoke Occam’s razor because it is the most over utilized, “faux-sophisticated”-sounding principle in existence, but it works too well here). With respect to Republican reasoning for not passing the law, the most simple explanation is likely the truth. Hence, Republicans will not pass the law because they want the president able to fire Mueller if needed. (Of course Trump can’t directly fire Mueller, he would simply have to order someone to fire him and keep firing people until he succeeded, the idea remains the same, just the number of careers ruined over principle varies.)
Why do Republicans want Trump able to fire Mueller? Well, that’s a bit trickier. One obvious reason comes to mind, might as well get it out of the way. Some Republicans do not want to offend Trump voters who definitely want Mueller fired. But, even that rational sounds a little hollow, not quite enough “oomph” to explain everything. If we stick to the idea that it is in congressional Republicans’ best interest to have Trump able to fire Mueller, we’re forced to confront some rather scary possibilities. It is possible that the Russians have infiltrated the Republican party with far greater penetration than we have previously thought. We know that Russian money, a lot of it, found its way into the NRA and from the NRA into the Republican coffers. It is not irresponsible to ponder whether Republicans feel vulnerable about their relationship with Russia as a party, not just with the president. And, that, kids – is frightening. Because Russian penetration into the Republican party is just as reasonable an explanation for the otherwise inexplicable non-vote as any.
It is also conceivable that, the Russians being the extremely sophisticated international manipulators that they are, would not go so far as to help install their own puppet president, without ensuring that they had “kompromat” against other Republicans, in order to ensure that Trump’s “support” among Republicans remains strong. Russian blackmail over Republicans would also explain why Republicans have shown no interest in dumping Trump overboard when they have Pence standing there, ready to give Republicans all they ever dreamed about, without having to worry about whether Pence signed the contract with the porn star.
Charlie Pierce at Esquire has given the issue some thought:
I’m not one of those people who think that the Republicans in Congress don’t want to move on the president* because the FSB has video of them all making the sign of the two-humped lizard with, well, two-humped lizards …
But, at this point, with the president* re-enacting the Tell-Tale Heart in public and all over the electric Twitter machine, you have to wonder. Why not give the president* a laurel and hearty handshake and tell him to go slice fairway woods out of bounds for the rest of his life? ….
Mike Pence has been committed to that goal longer and far more deeply than the current president* has, and his commitment comes with genuine, extra-special Leviticus Jesus that the president* can’t even fake convincingly. He will give them everything they ask for, and he’ll do it without causing them worldwide embarrassment and without occasioning a bloodbath at the polls this coming November. And, make no mistake, he’s just as dim and, therefore, just as pliable as this guy. What are they waiting for?
Makes you wonder. About lizards.
I don’t know about lizards, I don’t know about Russians, nor do I know why Mike Pence is not the obvious solution to the Republicans’ problems. I do know this, Republicans will not pass a law that prohibits the president from firing Mueller, and they have a reason. It is not the reason that they are telling us. It is not that “Trump is too smart to fire Mueller.” Whatever the reason may be, it makes subjective sense to those who cling to the rationale. It makes sense that, “subjectively,” it is in the Republicans’ best interest that Trump retain the ability to fire Mueller. “Why” it is in their “best interests” is open to plenty of speculation.