Donald Trump has spent the past several weeks desperately trying to find a way to gain enough political cover to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Why? For complex reasons, Rosenstein has sole authority over Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Trump-Russia investigation. If Trump could get rid of Rosenstein, perhaps he could get rid of the entire scandal. But as of today Rosenstein has struck back, and now it’s too late.
When Mueller was ready to announce that he’d obtained grand jury indictments against thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian entities that worked to rig the election in Trump’s favor, it could have simply gone out in a press release. Instead, Rod Rosenstein decided to hold a press conference and announce the indictments himself. He wanted his name and face on this, and not because he was trying to take credit. Instead, Rosenstein wanted to very publicly marry himself to the fact that the Russians were trying to rig the election for Trump.
Why? Because now he can’t be fired. Imagine if Donald Trump posted a tweet right now, announcing that he’s firing Rod Rosenstein. There is no way on earth he’d get away with it. Even Trump’s allies in the Republican Party leadership would have to intervene and prevent it from happening. The GOP can’t afford to let Trump hang an albatross that big around the party’s neck heading into the midterm elections. So now Rosenstein is in a position where his job is bulletproof. The same is true of Robert Mueller.
In other words, it’s too late for Donald Trump to fire anyone. Trump was correct in that he desperately needed to try to get rid of Rosenstein and Mueller last month, before something like this happened. Trump took his best shot with the memo; it simply failed. Now Rod Rosenstein is taking over, and there’s no turning back. We’re going to see the Trump-Russia investigation taken all the way to the finish line.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report