Donald Trump sure looks like he is planning to fire Robert Mueller

If President Donald Trump isn't planning to fire special counsel Bob Mueller, he sure is doing a good job of faking i...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 8:40 AM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 8:41 AM

If President Donald Trump isn't planning to fire special counsel Bob Mueller, he sure is doing a good job of faking it.

Consider the last 48 hours alone:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe late Friday night, less than two days before McCabe was set to retire from the bureau -- where he had worked for 20+ years -- with full pension.
  • Trump celebrates the firing via tweet even later Friday night. He writes: "Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!"
  • On Saturday morning, Trump attorney John Dowd released a statement calling for an end to the Mueller investigation. "I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe's boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier," said Dowd. Although he originally told the Daily Beast that he was speaking for the President in that statement, Dowd recanted and told CNN later he was only speaking a personal capacity.
  • On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted that "the Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime," adding: "It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!"
  • Trump, on Sunday morning, tweets this: "Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don't believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?"
  • He tweets again minutes later: "Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!"

That series of events -- and tweets -- taken in a vacuum, would send a very clear message that Trump is sick and tired of Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling into the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion with the Russians.

The President wants this whole thing over with. Now.

But, the context is even more damning in that regard. Trump has, for months, attacked the Mueller investigation as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt." He celebrated the end of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian meddling despite the fact that two of the Republicans on the committee seemed to undermine its conclusion within days. (Not to mention the fact that none of the Democrats on the committee were consulted about the decision to end the investigation.)

Then there is the lying. Because Trump purposely changes the accepted facts, let's go through some of them.

1. Mueller, McCabe and fired FBI Director James Comey were Republicans. Mueller was appointed FBI director by George W. Bush. Comey has said under oath that he was a registered Republican his entire life -- until very recently. McCabe has said he voted for Republicans for president in every election prior to 2016.

2. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a man put into his job by Sessions -- Trump's pick to lead the Justice Department. Sessions' decision to recuse himself -- because he was a surrogate for Trump during the 2016 election -- is why Rosenstein is overseeing the probe.

3. Trump is right that there is no collusion -- yet. Remember (as he doesn't) that the Mueller investigation and the Senate Intelligence Committee are ongoing. That doesn't mean they will find collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But, it does mean that Trump can't definitively say no collusion has been found. What he could say -- but won't -- is that no evidence of collusion has been made public to date.

4. Whether or not any collusion is found, it's impossible to describe the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt. Three former aides to Trump's campaign -- including Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser -- have pled guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with the investigation. Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, faces more than 300 years in prison due to a series of charges of financial malfeasance Mueller has brought against him. More than a dozen Russians have been charged by Mueller with building and executing a broad-scale strategy aimed at influencing the 2016 election. That's not a hoax. Or a witch hunt. Or a media-created controversy.

5. There are four members of Mueller's team who have made donations to Democrats in the past. But, they are also undisputed experts in a variety of fields related to the investigation. And, Rosenstein has already said these donations are not disqualifying.

6. Whether or not Trump saw McCabe writing memos is totally immaterial. The memos, which document what Comey told McCabe of his conversations with Trump, have been turned over to Mueller, who has also interviewed McCabe about the firing of Comey last spring.

Even if you believe the Dowd statement was a case of mistaken attribution, why did Dowd choose to say it fewer than 24 hours after McCabe was fired and amid a tweetstorm by Trump about Mueller, Comey and McCabe?

That's one hell of a coincidence, right?

"If you have an innocent client Mr. Dowd, act like it," scolded Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and former federal prosecutor, on "Fox News Sunday." "Russia attacked our country. Let special counsel Mueller figure that out. If you believe as we have found there is no evidence of collusion, you should want special counsel Mueller to take all the time, to have all the independence he needs to do his job."

Trump's lawyers have repeatedly insisted that the President has no plans to fire Mueller. But, everything coming out of the White House in the wake the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is that only Trump knows his mind. And that anyone who makes predictions about what Trump is thinking or will do is guessing.

Yes, firing Mueller would likely be political suicide by Trump.

"If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency," predicted South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "The only reason that Mr. Mueller could be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller."

But, the idea Trump wouldn't do something solely because it might be bad politics is belied by virtually his entire political career in which he has taken pride in doing exactly the thing everyone says he shouldn't.

There is no more sacred cow in our current politics than Mueller. Which may well mean that Trump is getting ready to take him down.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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