William B. Turner
The appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Prosecutor was Christmas in May for the drama queen set. The hue and cry that we were going full Nazi had begun to wear thin, and they needed something else to squeal about, so they took up VERY IMPORTANT preparations for the response should the so called president fire Mueller. Keep your powder dry and be prepared to protest at a moment’s notice! We heard ad nauseam.
You may stop. The raid on Michael Cohen’s office, residence, and hotel room yesterday render firing Mueller irrelevant. The Donald likely does not grasp this point, so he may well do it anyway, but it doesn’t matter. It really never mattered. The historical precedent everyone liked to point to was the Saturday Night Massacre, in which Richard Nixon fired the first special prosecutor in the Watergate case, but the public reaction was so overwhelmingly condemnatory that Nixon immediately appointed a second special prosecutor. Granted, the Donald is nowhere near as smart as Nixon was, or as steeped in the principles of good government, however much Nixon may have honored them only in the breach, but having Trump fire Mueller might actually have been a good thing because Republicans in Congress are much more keenly attuned to public opinion than is the Donald, so they might well have felt compelled to act had Trump fired Mueller. They obviously feel no such compulsion now.
It turns out that the U.S. attorney who is in charge of the southern district of New York, the office that sought the warrant the FBI used for the Cohen raids, is a Trump appointee who recused himself from the case. This is excellent news because it means that the ordinary machinery of law enforcement is busy grinding away. This can be horrible, depending on the case. We should all remember the suicide of Aaron Swartz, the founder of Reddit, who was undergoing prosecution by a U.S. attorney when he decided to kill himself. The machinery of federal prosecution can destroy people. Obviously, what one thinks about that possibility may well depend on whom the target is.
The U.S. attorney’s recusal, apparently on his own motion, is a shining example of integrity and professionalism in action, two impulses that the Donald clearly has zero understanding of, and which will likely be his undoing, as is entirely condign. This is delicious.
When the obvious target du jour of federal prosecutors is Michael Cohen, with the so called president lurking as a presumptive, secondary target in the background, we may not shed many tears at the prospect of seeing them ground up in a U.S. attorney investigation.
But the key point in terms of paranoia about Trump firing Mueller is that it doesn’t matter. Sarah Hickabee Sanders just replied to a direct question by casually stating that Trump believes he has the authority to fire Mueller. Um, he had the authority to fire Comey, too, but that’s what started this whole mess. That the president has the authority to take some action does not mean taking that action is either wise or entirely lawful. However, one thing we know about the Donald is that he is not very smart and does not learn lessons, apparently at all, so there is no reason to think that he learned his lesson from firing Comey.
Sarah Sanders: Trump “certainly believes he has the power“ to fire Robert Mueller. (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/qtysO8K2pF
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 10, 2018