By now, you know that Donald Trump was seriously considering firing Robert Mueller a mere month after Mueller took over the investigation into Russia’s effort to hack the presidential election. He only backed down after the man who would have been charged with giving Mueller his walking papers, White House Counsel Don McGahn, threatened to resign rather than carry out that order.
Well, if NBC News is to be believed, Trump is giving serious thought to something even more outrageous than that. How do you get worse than a president firing the special counsel who is looking into whether said president’s campaign crawled into bed with a hostile foreign power? Quite easily, as it turns out–when said president has said special counsel prosecuted for daring to investigate him.
NBC News’ Howard Fineman reports that Trump is pursuing a “two-track strategy” for dealing with an investigation that is getting so close to him that he can probably feel Mueller breathing down his neck. On one hand, he is telling those close to him that he expects Mueller to clear him any day now. Considering that we now know Mueller is looking into the details of the Trump Tower meeting, that expectation is delusional even by Trumpian standards. Remember, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner were on hand for that meeting, and Trump himself was involved in trying to falsely spin it as a meeting about adoption rather than dirt on Hillary Clinton.
But Trump is also considering going down a much darker path. According to a Trump adviser who spoke with Fineman, as part of a larger strategy to discredit the investigation, Trump is considering having Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice prosecute Mueller. In effect, Mueller would be told, “We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you can’t run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another grand jury.”
While we have long since passed the point where we can no longer put anything past Trump, this is one anecdote that we have to hope isn’t true. After all, this would be the very definition of a politically motivated prosecution. It would also be something more akin to what we would see in Venezuela, Russia, or Turkey.
This sort of talk has already been percolating among the more diehard of Trump’s diehards. John Guandolo, for instance, believes that the entire investigation is an act of treason, and has loudly demanded that those working on the probe be arrested and possibly executed.
Just last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot down any plans for legislation to protect Mueller from potential White House interference. Watch here.
Well, Addison Mitchell, it may be time to change your plans. The mere fact that we even have to discuss the possibility of Mueller being prosecuted for merely doing his job underlines the need to protect him. Now.
(featured image courtesy U. S. Embassy to Estonia, available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license)