and tell him he’s fired? That would be cool. Mueller shows for the moment of his lifetime — interrogating the U.S. president — but instead is told to hit the road. President Trump then walks out of the room. That’s some mighty fine reality TV.
After today’s raid of Michael Cohen’s home and office, I think it’s fair to consider whether Trump should fire Mueller. However, it’s premature to reach a conclusion. We need to know more.
It’s possible that the raid has a legitimate connection to the issue Mueller and his band of anti-Trump partisans is supposed to be investigating — alleged collusion with Russia. If so, and if Mueller adhered to proper procedures in connection with the raid of the president’s personal attorney, then the raid provides no basis for firing him.
However, reports suggest that the raid may have been related to the issue of payments by Cohen to Stormy Daniels. If so, then Mueller has moved so far from the scope of a reasonable investigation that he should be sacked.
There’s a third, and middle possibility. The search and seizure of Cohen’s documents might result from the desire to investigate the president’s personal finances and dealings. Trump has warned that such an investigation would cross a red line.
Mueller’s actions regarding Cohen are sufficiently provocative to make me wonder whether he would like to be fired. Maybe he and his gang have concluded that they don’t have much on Trump — not enough to bring him down, anyway — but that Mueller’s firing might bring the president down.
This seems far-fetched. But it’s clear that, at a minimum, Mueller is willing to be fired. Perhaps he views this as a win-win situation. Either way he makes a run at taking Trump down through hyper-aggressive investigatory tactics or he makes that run by being fired and becoming a martyr.
And either way, he promotes the interests of his team — Democrats and other Trump haters.
UPDATE: I gather from various reports that Mueller brought whatever evidence he had about Cohen to Rod Rosenstein, who had him refer the case to the U.S. Attorney in New York because he thought it was beyond the scope of Mueller’s proper investigation. But if, as has been reported, the information was about Stormy Daniels, then Mueller might well have been acting beyond his proper scope when he uncovered that information.
It also seems ridiculous to have raided Cohen over what, under a very aggressive interpretation of the campaign finance law, might have been an illegal campaign contribution of $130,000. Why would Mueller even have brought this matter to Rosenstein unless he wanted a raid for his own purposes?
As I say, I think we need to know more.