Former FBI Director Robert Mueller (Getty/Saul Loeb)

Trump eyes his next target, Robert Mueller, and Republicans can only watch

After getting rid of Andrew McCabe, he's now eying the man investigating him


Jeremy Binckes
March 18, 2018 3:44PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump's Friday night decision to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — right before he could collect his retirement pension from the government — has emboldened the president, and made a constitutional crisis over a possible firing of special counsel Robert Mueller even more likely.

On Saturday Night, the president evoked the name of the man responsible for investigating whether or not there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian sources during the 2016 presidential election, saying that the probe "should never have been started." Trump's claim was instantly fact-checked by The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who cited many of Trump's innaccuracies.

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He followed that up Sunday morning with another tweet directed at the investigation, complaining that the investigation featured "Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans." (That would be news to Republicans, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, who welcomed Mueller's hiring.)

The president, for his part, has been "whisked away" to his golf course after the interview — seemingly to spend time away from his phone and in a happy place.

But this salvo against Mueller seems to follow a pattern when it comes to the president — lay a case for why he plans to fire someone investigating him, then do it. He fired former FBI Director James Comey after attacking him directly and indirectly. And he often attacked McCabe, seemingly over the fact that McCabe's wife ran for office and had connections to people who knew Hillary Clinton. Trump repeatedly mocked McCabe, according to Axios, which also noted that McCabe was keeping memos on his interactions with the president.

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As each of these stories comes out, it becomes more clear that a constitutional crisis is in the making, as the president is doing whatever he can to ensure that an investigation into investigation into his ties with Russia and its impact on the 2016 presidential election cannot take place.

It's going to be a constitutional crisis because Congress, which has the power to hold the president in check, doesn't want to be doing anything. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican also linked to Russia, said that the Mueller investigation was "much to do about nothing." Marco Rubio suggested to "Meet the Press" that McCabe's firing may have been a way to "hold them accountable."

And even though Trey Gowdy, who is retiring in a few months, had strong words, there was no indication that he would take actions to protect Mueller.

The toughest reaction, though, came from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who told Jake Tapper that Meuller's firing would be "the beginning of the end of his presidency."

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The question forming seems to be when, not if, Trump will test that.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Andrew Mccabe Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Robert Mueller Trey Gowdy




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