In the aftermath of the report that the White House Counsel Don McGahn had to threaten to resign to prevent President Donald Trump from firing Robert Mueller last June, new reports from four sources say that Trump has raised his desire to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The story would be particularly worrisome since many have defended the President (who denied the Mueller story) on the basis that the order was given during an early chaotic period where he made a series of missteps. This story, if true, would suggest that the President is still considering the same type of move against Rosenstein — a move that would have obvious and immediate negative impact for him and his Administration.
While I have written extensively (here and here and here) on Mueller’s and Rosenstein’s conflicts of interest and why he should never have been considered for such a post, I have also stressed that any firing of either official would be an act of utter lunacy in the midst of this investigation.
I believe that Rosenstein made a fundamental blunder in the appointment of Mueller who has close ties with Comey and interviewed with Trump in an attempt to get Comey’s job. He should never have been on the list of possible special counsels, let alone selected. That mistake has undermined the investigation and added an unnecessary distraction. However, once Mueller was appointed, the die was cast. Both he and Rosenstein need to be allowed to finish their work. I believe that the investigation will be a fair one and I have never questioned the integrity of either of these accomplished lawyers.
Sources say that Trump has been making comments like “let’s fire him, let’s get rid of him” to aides. If true, it would be unfathomable that after all of the missteps by the Administration, Trump would be contemplating doing the very same act that largely guaranteed the appointment of a special counsel and exponentially increased the damage to his own Administration. It would show a serious lack of judgment and discipline to openly discuss such a prospect.
Hopefully, (again if true) Trump will be dissuaded from such an self-destructive act. One would hope that, at some one, the lessons of the Comey controversy will sink in and such reckless strategies will be put aside in favor of patience and cooperation.