Just as rumors start swirling that Trump might be getting ready to fire Mueller, news breaks that a grand jury has been impanelled in D.C., making it almost impossible for him to do so

Today, as Donald Trump went absolutely, foaming-at-the-mouth nuts in front of a crowd in West Virginia, calling the Russia story a “total fabrication,” and demanding once again that Hillary Clinton be investigated for having deleted emails, news broke that special prosecutor Robert Mueller had impanelled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicating that his investigation had entered a new phase. [This is no longer a mere probe into the possibility of wrongdoing. It’s now officially a criminal investigation that will very likely result in indictments.] The following clip comes by way of the Wall Street Journal.

…Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort…

Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses…

And, according to New York Times, the work of the grand jury has already begun. Subpoenas, they reported this evening, have already been issued.

As for why news of this grand jury became public today, one can only guess. My sense, however, is that someone decided to leak its existence because Trump, according to several sources, had been seriously considering the possibility of firing Robert Mueller. And, this recent news about the existence of a grand jury, one would expect, would make it more difficult for Trump to stop the investigation, as doing so now would clearly qualify as obstruction of justice.

For what it’s worth, whoever leaked the existence of the grand jury isn’t alone. Several people behind the scenes this past week have been working to make it more difficult for Trump to stop Mueller investigation.

First, the Senate unanimously acted to block Trump from making recess appointments, essentially making it impossible for him to fire Jeff Sessions in hopes of naming a new Attorney General who would fire Mueller for him. And, second, bipartisan legislation was introduced today by Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons that, if passed, would ensure that, before Trump could fire a special prosecutor, a three-judge panel would have to sign off, essentially confirming that the firing was justified. [Senators Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker have also introduced similar bipartisan legislation.]

Yes, it would seem as though, for some reason, the Republican Congress has decided to push back against Trump. Maybe Republicans disliked his recent bullying of their former congressional colleague Jeff Sessions, or maybe they just decided, when Trump wasn’t able to deliver on the Obamacare repeal, they’d be better off cutting their losses and moving on. Regardless of the reason, though, it would appear as though the tide is finally beginning to turn, with people like McCaine, Graham and Tillis starting to exert themselves against the President.

It’s also worth noting, while we’re on the subject, that the Congress, almost unanimously, voted to enact new sanctions against Russia, in spite of Trump’s near constant harassment on the subject. Trump, as you might imagine, was pissed about it, but, really, there was nothing he could do about it. White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, as you may recall, suggested Trump may veto the bipartisan Russian sanctions, but, as Congress had the votes to overturn his veto, he really didn’t have any choice but to sign.

For what it’s worth, though, he didn’t sign happily. Rumor is that he called Putin before signing, and then immediately released a statement saying that, if it were up to him, the sanctions bill wouldn’t have been signed into law. After calling the bill he’d just signed “significantly flawed,” Trump went on in his statement to say that he should be the one negotiating such things with foreign countries, and not Congress. “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars,” he said in his statement. “That is a big part of the reason I was elected.” He then went on to say, “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

And he did’t stop there. Today he took to Twitter to blame Congress for our poor relations with Russia, essentially ignoring the fact that Russia may have brought any of this on themselves by, you know, waging a sophisticated cyber warfare campaign against the very democratic institutions that form the foundation of our society… Here’s the tweet in question.

[note: For what it’s worth, Congress did give us health care. It’s called Obamacare. And we’ve had it for about 8 years now… What I think the President meant to say was, “the same people who can’t even rid us of health care.”]

So, to sum up, it would look as though the President, at least for the time being, has been blocked, and the Mueller investigation will be going forward. One imagines, however, that the attacks against Mueller and his investigative team will only intensify, however.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    As Rep. Ted Lieu said today, “A grand jury is the step before indictment.”

  2. EOS
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Word is that Wasserman-Shultz and her friend Imran will be among the first indictments.

  3. Joe M.
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    A grand jury itself is not a sign of indictments. It is as the WSJ stated – a tool to expand investigative power. It could lead to indictments, but it doesn’t have to necessarily.

    Yes, most of your audience (myself included) hope that it happens, but again lets not jump to conclusions.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    EOS, I honestly feel sorry for you.

  5. M
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Scarborough : After this, firing Mueller is simply untenable

    http://thehill.com/homenews/media/345280-morning-joe-names-it-felony-friday-for-trump

  6. Rick
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    His fellow Republicans finally figured out that Trump is a schoolyard bully who will walk away when his bluff is called. This is also evidenced by his phone comments to the President of Mexico.

  7. Lynne
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I am not expecting this but if Trump ends up in jail, I am having a schadenfreude party!

  8. MSNBC's Ari Melber
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    “Sessions tells room of reporters he may make it easier to jail them if they don’t reveal sources, leaves without taking any press questions.”

    They’re coming for the free press, folks.

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