Let’s stipulate that yes, it would be a bad idea for President Donald Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But it’s not because such a dismissal would be an undeserved affront to a provably honorable pursuit.
From Dallas News
Firing Mueller is a bad idea for one reason: optics. Such a dismissal would invite waves of presumption that it was a desperation move designed to evade consequences for offenses Trump insists he did not commit.
The first thing everyone should recognize is that there is not one noteworthy Republican, from the president on down, who has been banging the drum for Mueller to be fired. The entire Mueller dismissal scenario is fresh from the oven of Trump critics who have combined Trump’s distaste for the probe with his propensity for firing people and surmised that surely Mueller will be next to go.
Firing Mueller is not like changing Cabinet secretaries, which any president may do on a whim. Trump is well aware (and fond of reminding us on Twitter) that there is no sign so far of evidence to support the charges of collusion that supposedly launched the entire inquiry. He might feel tempted to let the investigation play out, eventually basking in the exoneration he could claim from the resulting nonfindings.
But that presumes two things: that there are indeed no hidden bombshells yet to uncover, and that the Mueller team will not scramble to find something to justify the large amounts of time and money it has spent.
Dissuading Trump from firing Mueller is one thing; singing the praises of Mueller is quite another. This investigation does not deserve to be unplugged, but nor does it deserve to be applauded.
Begun with no known crime to justify it, the entire operation has been riddled with revelations of bias and questionable motive. Despite the lack of findings so far, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has overseen an expansion of the counsel’s purview to include matters as far-flung as Paul Manafort’s business dealings and a slew of Trump organization documents that may or may not even pertain to Russia.
Add in the gaggle of politically active Democrats on the Mueller team, and the result does not exactly inspire confidence as to objectivity. So if this entire enterprise deserves neither trust nor dissolution, a key remaining question involves the president’s personal interaction with it: Should he submit himself for interviews or questioning of any type, even in writing?
Not for one second.
The president has been charged with nothing. There is no evidence of lawbreaking by him. A probe that risks going down in history as a colossal waste of time seems bent on broadening its net far beyond its originally blurry limits.
It is a given that Trump supporters want the investigation to go away, and his enemies are pining for it to unearth the smoking gun of their dreams. But this will have to be decided on the merits.
Is there or is there not a case for collusion or obstruction of justice or whatever type of fish they may throw the nets out for next? At what point does the president, or the American people, get to say enough?
Trump is saying it already, for good reason. He will not dismiss Mueller, but he is likely to spend many days identifying his quest as a politically-driven witch hunt. Two things would disprove that: the discovery at last of real evidence, or the humble admission that there is none to find.
It’s time for one of those things to happen.