Robert Mueller

Graham Says Firing Mueller Would Lead to End of Trump

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned President Trump not to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Reuters reports.

Said Graham: “The only reason Mr. Mueller could ever be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller. I pledge to the American people as a Republican, to ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference.”

He added: “As I have said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation.”

Trump Lawyers Trying to Limit Time with Mueller

President Trump’s lawyers “are considering ways for him to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller, provided the questions he faces are limited in scope and don’t test his recollections in ways they say could unfairly trap him into perjuring himself,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Trump’s legal team is weighing options that include providing written answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions and having the president give limited face-to-face testimony.”

Euphemism of the day: “Mr. Trump is a freewheeling conversationalist, an instinct that proved advantageous on the campaign trail but could be unsuited to a legal setting.”

Mueller’s Scorecard

Washington Post: “To date, Mueller’s team has brought more than 100 criminal counts against 19 different individuals. In four cases, the individuals pleaded guilty before the charges were made public. Thirteen of the individuals are Russian nationals involved in efforts to influence the 2016 election through social media. Four of the individuals facing or pleading to charges worked for or with Trump’s campaign team.”

Mueller Knows How to Keep a Secret

BuzzFeed News: “More than nine months into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — the most-watched, most-speculated-about criminal probe in recent history — his office continues to unveil new criminal charges that catch the press, the public, and the political world off guard.”

“Prosecutors are bound by confidentiality and ethics rules not to disclose information about pending criminal investigations, and grand jurors and court employees involved in grand jury proceedings are barred from talking about their work. It’s common for criminal charges to come as a surprise. But Mueller’s ability to control the flow of information in such a high-profile investigation and deliver a shock with the revelation of a new case has stood in contrast to the steady stream of behind-the-scenes stories coming out of the Trump administration.”

What Does Mueller Know About WikiLeaks?

First Read: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments on Friday focused only on the social media and grassroots components of Russia’s interference campaign. But they didn’t address the hacked emails from John Podesta and the DNC that WikiLeaks released — and which Donald Trump and his campaign eagerly used during the final days of the 2016 election.”

“Trump insists he and his campaign didn’t collude with Russia… But his campaign certainly took advantage of the WikiLeaks release — about which Mueller’s investigation has been silent. At least so far.”

It Just Got Much Harder to Fire Robert Mueller

Jonathan Swan: “It will now be even harder for Trump to fire Mueller. Capitol Hill already would have gone crazy if Trump tried that. But after Mueller has done such substantive work — even earning the lavish praise of Trump lawyer John Dowd — it’s impossible to imagine Trump getting away with firing him.”

“The fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a press conference is significant. It was a major vote of confidence in the Mueller probe: This is Rosenstein saying he’s proud of this work, and fully supports it.”

“It’s also a notable show of independence by Rosenstein — a Heisman to the White House.”

Trump’s Lawyers Want Him to Refuse Mueller Interview

“Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath,” the New York Times reports.

“His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mr. Mueller as part of the investigation into possible ties between his associates and Russia’s election interference, and whether he obstructed justice.”

Priebus Disputes Trump Tried to Fire Mueller

Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus disputed reports that Trump sought to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, NBC News reports.

Said Priebus: “Of all the things that we went through in the West Wing, I never felt that the president was going to fire the special counsel.”

First Read: “But note how Priebus repeatedly used the word ‘felt’ in the interview. As Hugh Hewitt described it on Meet the Press after the Priebus interview, ‘You can’t perjure yourself if you feel something. If you don’t remember something you can’t perjure yourself. So he’s been lawyered up. He’s obviously feeling like he’s not a target and he’s in the clear.'”

What Happens If Mueller Gets Fired?

Garrett Graff: “If you’re confused about how the GOP could be criticizing McCabe for appearing to aid Hillary Clinton’s campaign when deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s memo accusing Jim Comey and the FBI of treating her unfairly was the purported basis for his firing by Trump last May, well, you’re not alone — this investigation increasingly appears to be taking America through the looking glass.”

“There’s no reason to believe, in fact, that Mueller… hasn’t been organizing his investigation since day one with the expectation that he’d someday be fired and worked to ensure that this, his final chapter in a lifetime of public service at the Justice Department, won’t be curtailed before it has gotten to what Mueller calls ‘ground truth.'”

McConnell Sees No Need to Protect Mueller

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he sees no need to act to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Bloomberg reports.

Said McConnell: “My understanding is there’s no effort under way to undermine or remove the special counsel. Therefore I don’t see any need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection.”

“McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if Trump sought to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.”

Why Mueller Won’t Indict Donald Trump

The Atlantic: “Mueller will not indict Trump for obstruction of justice or for any other crime. Period. Full stop. End of story. Speculations to the contrary are just fantasy.”

“He won’t do it for the good and sufficient reason that the Department of Justice has a long-standing legal opinion that sitting presidents may not be indicted. First issued in 1973 during the Nixon era, the policy was reaffirmed in 2000, during the Clinton era. These rules bind all Department of Justice employees, and Mueller, in the end, is a Department of Justice employee. More to the point, if we know anything about Mueller, we think we know that he follows the rules—all of them. Even the ones that restrict him in ways he would prefer they not. And if he were to choose not to follow the rules, that, in turn, would be a reasonable justification for firing him. So … the special counsel will not indict the president.”

Mueller Almost Done With Obstruction Part of Probe

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 Trump obstructed justice,” Bloomberg reports.

“Mueller has quietly moved closer to those around Trump by interviewing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey in recent weeks, officials said. His team has also interviewed CIA Director Mike Pompeo, NBC News reported.”

“Those high-level officials all have some degree of knowledge about events surrounding Trump’s decisions to fire Comey and Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser.”