Before this weekend, President Trump had not really mentioned the name of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Those in Trump’s circle have. Trump, however, has merely danced around the topic.
On Sunday, the president lashed out with this tweet:
Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018
This was his first time going directly at Mueller’s probe.
Mueller is a Republican, first appointed by George W. Bush, by the way.
Now those close to the president are saying he’s preparing to go all-out nutso on Mueller and his investigation, and it has them worried.
“I think it’s a very delicate balance,” former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a top Trump media surrogate, told The Daily Beast on Sunday morning. “There’s nothing unusual about sending signals, but I think because of the highly charged nature of the situation… [He should] make sure his lawyers know what he’s up to.”
“It’s an area full of landmines, so tread carefully,” Kingston added.
Trump’s agitation seems to have kicked into high gear about the time Mueller’s team delivered interview questions to the president’s legal team, in preparation for a possible face-to-face meeting.
Trump has yet to agree to such a meeting, and many are warning him that it would be a bad idea.
One Trump associate said it could result in him being caught “accidentally lying.”
Yeah. I don’t know that that’s a real thing.
You can be mistaken about facts. You can’t “accidentally” lie.
Trump had earlier said that he looked forward to sitting with Mueller, and that he felt he’d be treated fairly. Recent news that Mueller has begun looking into the business dealings of the Trump Organization, as well as those interview questions, however, has him visibly unnerved.
People around him believe either firing Mueller, or firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – the man responsible for appointing Mueller – is a very real possibility.
If he fired Rosenstein, he would look to replace him with a loyalist, who would shut down Mueller.
Either move would hold dire consequences for his presidency.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham addressed the possibility this weekend.
“If he tried to [fire Mueller], that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” Graham said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “I think it’s very important [Mueller] be allowed to do his job without interference, and there are many Republicans who share my view.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan rarely shows a backbone or sticks up to Trump, but he also commented that Mueller should be allowed to finish his job.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy also spoke out on Sunday, addressing Mueller’s purpose, as well as the nonsensical email rant of Trump attorney, John Dowd.
“If you look at the jurisdiction for Robert Mueller, first and foremost, what did Russia do to this country in 2016? That is supremely important and it has nothing to do with collusion,” Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday. “So to suggest that Mueller should shut down and that all he is looking at is collusion—if you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”
And that’s key.
Most of the Trump devotees are clinging to the word “collusion” like the last port in a storm, desperate to end the investigation, based on what they think that word means.
First of all, “collusion” is a broad term covering quite a few different areas.
Secondly, as I’ve said here before, Mueller’s authority is to begin with any potential obstruction of the Russia investigation, and then, to pull on any thread that pops up, whether collusion, obstruction, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiring with any foreign government (not just Russia), or jaywalking.
Trump and his sycophants have put the investigation into a very narrow scope, when Mueller’s authority is open to tracking down any measure of corruption or wrongdoing.
That’s “any,” as in, stop worrying about collusion and start worrying about everything else.