If Donald Trump fired former F.B.I. chief James Comey for refusing to help him obstruct justice, he has far greater motive to fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who was appointed to investigate that obstruction of justice and is now indicting and convicting the president’s inner circle.
A bipartisan bill, the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, introduced on August 3 by co-sponsors Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), set out to prevent Trump from firing Mueller, but now Graham is backpedaling the legislation.
According to a Talking Points Memo article tonight, the South Carolina Republican said:
‘I don’t feel an urgent need to pass that law until you show me that Mr. Mueller is in jeopardy . . . Anybody in his right mind at the White House wouldn’t think about replacing him.’ Asked if he believed Trump is ‘in his right mind,’ Graham responded affirmatively.
Other Republican senators hemmed and hawed about the need for such protective legislation, including a second bill introduced in September by Connecticut Democrat, Senator Chris Coons.
Senator Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, admitted he hadn’t read the proposed bills, but offered, “I don’t know that they’re necessary.” Senator Dan Sullivan of Arkansas also said he hadn’t read the bills.
Even Senators Flake (R-AZ) and Corker (R-TN), who have both recently employed blistering rhetoric about the president’s lack of character, decency, and fitness for office, demurred when asked for a clear answer.
“I hope we don’t have to but obviously if we need to we should,” said Flake.
Meanwhile, Corker said, “I just cannot possibly imagine an administration taking a step like that. It would would, it would be…” I think the word he was searching for was “crazy.”
Republicans’ selective denial when it comes to the insanity of a president whose stability they themselves have questioned boggles the mind. The only explanation for their obfuscation is that they know that the impeachment and subsequent indictment of this president would undo the Republican party and their anti-poor, anti-woman, anti-climate policy agenda for the foreseeable future.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said today’s indictments against Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and deputy Rick Gates, as well as the guilty plea of Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, would “not derail” the pro-wealthy Republican tax plan. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to answer questions about the president’s legal troubles during a press conference this morning.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Talking Points Memo tonight that today’s indictments are:
[A] sobering, shattering moment in American history . . . Congress should assure that Bob Mueller has no worries about his job . . . It is our responsibility to ensure his independence, which should be sacrosanct. As a signal to the White House, we should pass this measure.
When it comes to this president, Republicans are whistling in the dark. By closing ranks around the president, rather than around Mueller, they are worsening matters for Trump and themselves.
MoveOn.org has announced that if Trump fires Mueller, all 50 states will rally to say, “Nobody is Above the Law.” Meanwhile, when President Nixon fired his own special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in the “Saturday Night Massacre,” he hastened his own demise.
Trump and his party are caught in an ever-tightening vice of their own making. By not pushing to pass legislation protecting Mueller from Trump, Senator Graham and his Republican cronies are consigning themselves to the wrong side of history.