President Donald Trump went on the offensive Wednesday morning, tweeting out his belief that Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller was partly to blame for animosity between the United States and that nation.
“Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama,” Trump wrote.
He then went after Mueller specifically in the same tweet but also called out his own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter),” Trump said. “No Collusion, so they go crazy!”
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
The tweet came this morning amid rumblings that Trump is considering, once again, firing Mueller from serving as special counsel. It’s a move that would arguably set off a constitutional crisis, although some Republicans are adamant that they don’t believe Trump would be dumb enough to do it.
Even discussion of firing Mueller is the wrong path to take, say some Republicans.
“[I]t would be suicide for the president to want — to talk about firing Mueller,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Tuesday.
Trump may also be setting his sights on Rosenstein, who had signed off on a warrant that allowed investigators to search the home and offices of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. That search was carried out on Monday.
It’s incomprehensible that Trump would blame Mueller and the investigation he’s leading for the troubling tensions between the U.S. and Russia. It disregards a history of interference that shows the Kremlin had engaged in during the 2016 presidential election (and in elections prior). It also ignores the fact that Mueller wasn’t the one to begin the investigation in the first place.
There simply isn’t a conflict of interest in the investigation like Trump implies there is, either. But it’s probable that Trump is planting the seeds of doubt by suggesting as much, using these baseless claims to later justify firing the special counsel sometime in the future.
Those who are skeptical that the president could be planning to remove the special counsel need to reassess their doubts. It’s not as if Trump hasn’t tried to fire Mueller in the past. He did so twice that the public is aware of, once in June 2017 just shortly after Mueller was put into the position, and (as recently revealed) once more in December. In both cases, he backed down after being convinced by staffers that it would be the wrong move to make.
Americans need to be aware of how dangerous such a move would be. Trump would effectively be trying to fire someone for investigating credible concerns involving his campaign and administration. And that, more than any complaint Trump has made, would be a huge conflict of interest, not to mention an obstruction of justice.
We cannot stand for Mueller to be fired by the president for questionable reasons. Voters should demand lawmakers in Washington pass legislation protecting the special counsel from frivolous termination, which would send a direct message to Trump that he cannot do so without severe consequences. Such a measure is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee and deserves consideration by lawmakers of both houses.