And here it is folks.
For months on end, everyone has been asking the same question: when will Donald Trump fire Robert Mueller?
As the investigation drags on and as it becomes readily apparent that the special counsel is not, in fact, inclined to back off or be deterred by the increasingly desperate antics of Trump’s cartoonish backers on Capitol Hill, it’s been somewhat surprising that the notoriously volatile President hasn’t simply removed the man in charge of the investigation.
Indeed, Trump showed that he is not at all averse to firing the people overseeing the Russia probe when he removed James Comey last year. Additionally, Trump’s repeated attacks on the FBI both in the media and via his increasingly unhinged Twitter account seem to suggest that if he had his way, Mueller would have been dismissed months ago.
Well now we know why Trump hasn’t fired Mueller. According to a bombshell piece just out in The New York Times, Trump ordered Mueller fired last June “but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.”
When Trump became aware that Mueller was looking into obstruction of justice, the President made three arguments according to the Times:
- First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., had prompted Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director at the time, to resign his membership
- The president also said Mr. Mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner
- Finally, the president said, Mr. Mueller had been interviewed to return as the F.B.I. director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.
According to the Times’ sources, Don McGahn told Trump he would quit before he would ask the DoJ to dismiss Mueller.
McGahn not only disagreed with Trump’s rationale, he also informed the President that firing Mueller would be “catastrophic”.
And here’s the worst part for Trump:
Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.
So yeah, Mueller has known Trump tried to fire him for months. And now, Trump has publicly stated that he’s willing to sit down for an interview with the man who knows he tried to fire him for looking into the same obstruction of justice that the special counsel is said to be laser-focused on.
This would seem to underscore the notion that Mueller is moving closer on the obstruction charge and the fact that Trump tried to get rid of the special counsel only adds to the case. As Bloomberg reported earlier on Thursday, Mueller seems to be close to something on the obstruction angle – although it isn’t entirely clear what. To wit:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving at a far faster pace than previously known and appears to be wrapping up at least one key part of his investigation — whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, according to current and former U.S. officials.
Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said “it’s fair to say Mueller’s moving expeditiously.” He said “interviewing this president on these wide-ranging issues is a prosecutor’s dream.”
“There are several data points out there that point to a viable obstruction of justice charge against the president,” said Cramer, who’s now managing director of consulting firm Berkeley Research Group LLC. “The interesting thing is you have hubris involved here. This is not a normal president.”
Now, a lot of the stories you’ve been seeing over the past several days out of the Right-wing media make more sense. It looks as though they were trying to get out ahead of this and cast further doubt on the FBI in the eyes of the public.