If Donald Trump truly is serious about trying to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he’s got yet another problem on his hands. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Russia investigation at the Department of Justice, and who appointed Mueller in the first place, now says that Trump flat out cannot fire Mueller under the law.
Rosenstein spoke today and confirmed the widely held legal view that he’s the only one who can fire Robert Mueller. He added that he would only do it for cause, and that he sees no cause, and that he will absolutely not fire Mueller without cause (link). This means that even if Donald Trump orders him to fire Mueller without cause, he still won’t do it. Rosenstein is also making clear by default that Jeff Sessions does not have the authority to fire Mueller under any circumstances.
So if Trump does want Robert Mueller gone, he’d have to fire Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein first. Then he’d have to find someone at the Department of Justice willing to fire Mueller despite not having the legal authority to do so. In the process, Trump might have to fire half the top ranks at the DOJ in order to elevate someone willing to go along with his scheme.
Even then it would backfire. As we previously reported, Congress would simply turn around and appoint Robert Mueller as Independent Counsel so he could continue his work (link). But we’ve now reached a remarkable point, with Rod Rosenstein confirming that he won’t fire Mueller simply because Donald Trump wants to make the Russia investigation go away. Trump seemed to believe Rosenstein would be an ally when he appointed him. But after Trump tried to blame Rosenstein for the firing of James Comey, that bridge has been burned. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report. Follow Palmer Report on Facebook and Twitter.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report