We all need to be prepared to take to the streets when Trump fires Mueller… which now looks imminent

I know we talked about the Republican campaign to stop the Russia investigation just a few days ago, but quite a bit has happened since then, and I think it’s probably gotten to the point where we should start discussing how we’re each going to respond when the inevitable happens, and Donald Trump attempts to kill the investigation by firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director appointed by his Justice Department to head the probe. There may be better resources out there, but I’ve signed up to receive notifications through MoveOn’s site, TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org, where people around the country have already begun organizing rallies. [If news of Mueller’s firing happens before 2:00 PM, rallies across the nation will commence at 5:00 PM that very same day. If Mueller’s firing is announced after 2:00 PM, the rallies will begin at noon the following day.] If you want, you can sign up to receive updates by text here.

Yes, it’s true that President Trump went on the record today saying that he would not push Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert Mueller. Furthermore, Rosenstein himself said in front of the House Judiciary Committee this past Wednesday there existed no legal justification to fire Mueller. In spite of this, though, I can’t help but think, given the heightened rhetoric coming from Republicans close to Trump, that we’re headed toward an event like 1973’s Saturday Night Massacre, when Richard Nixon gave the word to his Justice Department to fire Watergate independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, setting in motion a chain of events that would eventually see the president impeached for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. [Nixon’s Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox, who was, at the time, attempting to get ahold of the audio tapes from Nixon’s secret Oval Office recording system. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus then did the same, when he was asked. Nixon ultimately promoted Robert Bork, who, according to some, agreed to fire Cox in exchange for the promise of a seat on the Supreme Court. The firing of Cox, however, did not stop the investigation.]

This past week was not a good one for Trump… Among other things, we heard that Mueller was in possession of thousands of emails sent between members of the Trump transition team, and that Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, had been called in to meet with investigators. Furthermore, we heard from various sources that Trump advisor Jared Kushner was likely to be indicted soon. [Representative Will Bailey‏, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, tweeted out to Kushner on Friday that he should enjoy his time with his family while he still can.] And Kushner’s legal team, we heard, was shopping for a public relations firm with expertise in crisis communications. So it really wasn’t any surprise, with all of this going on behind the scenes, that we started to hear that Trump, through his proxies, had begun to test the waters… floating the idea of firing Mueller.

Here, for instance, is Fox News innocently asking whether Mueller’s investigation is a deep state coup, ignoring the fact that Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulus were all indicted by grand juries, not by Mueller, who, by the way, happens to be a Republican that was selected for the job of heading the investigation by Trump’s own Justice Department.

So I guess you could say that things have changed a bit since last spring, when Trump friend, and former Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, described Mueller as having a reputation that was “impeccable for honesty and integrity.” Now, with both Flynn and Papadopoulus having pleaded guilty to felonies, Manafort awaiting trial for a litany of crimes, and Mueller in possession of the Trump organization’s bank records, things are looking a little different. And, given that, it’s no surprise that people on the right are attempting to cast doubt on the entire investigation by painting it as a politically motivated witch hunt.

And all they’ve got to work with, it would seem, are 375 text messages between two of Mueller’s agents, who, back during the campaign, apparently referred to Trump as a “loathsome” “idiot”. Never mind the fact that Mueller is the one that discovered the texts, and then quickly reassigned the two individuals in question… But someone friendly to the Trump administration inside the Justice Department apparently illegally leaked these texts to the press, and now the whole investigation is being reframed as an undeserved attack on the part of pro-Hillary forces within the FBI. [Not only has Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro called for the “cleansing” of those intelligence community officials who are not pro-Trump, but the President himself said this past Friday, that he intends to “rebuild the FBI.”]

But apparently that’s enough to wage an all out war on the Mueller investigation… First there were the television ads featuring Tomi Lahren that were financed by the Steve Bannon-affiliated pro-Trump Super PAC Great America Alliance. And, now, individual members of Congress are getting onboard.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, shortly after taking a ride with Trump onboard Air Force One, came out with a call to fire Mueller. “I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in the firing of Bob Mueller,” Gaetz said. This had to happen, according to Gaetz, as the investigation was “infected with bias.” [Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi then picked up the baton and referred to the Mueller investigation as “corrupt” and “worse than Watergate” on Fox News.] And, at the same time, Congressman Adam Schiff warned that the House investigation, which is independent of the Mueller investigation, also appears to be in jeopardy of being shut down.

And, in the Senate, we had Republican John Cornyn, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, tweeting out the following in response to Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, who, earlier in the day, had called these attacks against Mueller “BS,” and said that “any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated.”

And all of this, as you might imagine, isn’t sitting well with the rational, fact-loving Americans of either party. The following excerpt comes from an article in The Nation titled, “If Trump Fires Mueller, We Must Impeach.”

…If Trump fires Mueller, as many now speculate is possible, the United States will find itself in a constitutional crisis—where the executive branch rejects scrutiny, checks and balances, and the rule of law in order to protect itself from accountability. The expert on government rights and wrongs is so concerned that—after a Trump-aligned member of the House, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, appeared on CNN and announced: “I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in the firing of Bob Mueller”…

And here’s a little something from Foreign Policy, another publication that you can’t really just write-off as as yet another liberal rag.

…What will Trump’s reaction be when he figures out he’s been duped — and that the Mueller probe, far from a “nothing burger,” is a carafe of strychnine that poses an existential threat to his presidency? The likely result is that Trump will either pardon everyone involved or try to fire the special counsel, or both. And then the nation will be plunged into a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have not seen since Watergate…

[note: Trump, by the way, hinted earlier this weekend that he might pardon Flynn.]

Oh, and as long as we’re quoting folks, here’s a quote from Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

I could go on quoting people on both sides, but I think you probably get the point. Things are clearly building toward Mueller’s firing, and I have no doubt it will happen. If Trump knows that Mueller has incriminating evidence against him – which I think is almost surely the case, given Flynn’s plea deal – why wouldn’t he? I mean, what has he got to lose? Does he care enough about preserving the fabric of our democracy to just admit guilt and walk away peacefully? I don’t see anything in his past that would make me think that. No, given what I’ve seen, I suspect he’d sooner burn the whole nation to the ground than allow the endgame to play out on Mueller’s terms. And, if it’s going to happen, it’ll likely happen over the holiday, when Congress is in recess, and people aren’t paying attention. It probably won’t happen before the tax bill passes, though. And I think that’s set to come to a vote on Tuesday. [Or, who knows, maybe Trump could fire Mueller right as the tax bill is going to a vote, in hopes that it might pull our attention away from the unprecedented looting of the American middle class.] The only question I have is what Mueller might do before then to thwart Trump’s plans. Is it conceivable, for instance, that we might see Kushner indicted tomorrow, before the tax bill gets voted on? Regardless of how things play out, I think it’s safe to say that this is going to be an absolutely insane week.

So, what will you do when the news breaks that Mueller has been fired? Where will you go? What will you do? Have you already started making a sign? If so, what does it say? Mine, I think, will reference Trump’s bone spurs… Maybe it’ll say something like, “You can’t run from justice. Remember the bone spurs.” Whatever we do, it has to be big and dramatic. We need shock and awe. Our representatives in Congress need to know that we will not sit idly by and allow members of the Trump administration to stop this investigation. We need to fill every congressional office. We need to walk away from our jobs. We need to shut down traffic. We need to fill the jails. We cannot allow this to be just one more thing in a long series of things that we just passively accept as we make our way down this slippery slope toward armageddon. This has to be a red line that we will not allow Trump to cross.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Trump will likely start by firing Rosenstein, replacing him with someone willing to do the job, his own Bork.

    WaPo: “Trump appeared to be contemplating changes in the Justice Department’s leadership. In recent discussions, two advisers said, Trump…complained that Rosenstein has shown insufficient accountability on the special counsel’s work.”

  2. Seth Abramson by proxy
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The best-case scenario here: Trump keeps firing people at the DOJ—all of whom refuse to do his illegal bidding—until he runs out of political capital in Congress. The worst-case scenario: Trump uses federal agents to physically remove Mueller and his team from their offices.

  3. M
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    You know Mueller is getting close when Trump starts coming out against Russia, trying to prove that he’s not a bought and paid for stooge.

    CBS News: “President Trump will unveil his national security strategy in a speech today, and single out China and Russia as threats to American interests.” http://cbsn.ws/2B8kLF9

    Coming after a week in which Trump had two friendly conversations with Putin on the phone, this seems disingenuous to say the least.

  4. Meta
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Why is it now a huge deal that two FBI agents privately expressed their dislike of Trump, when, during the election, it wasn’t an issue that FBI agents publicly referred to HRC as the “antichrist personified”? I don’t recall calls for an investigation then.

    From the Guardian.

    The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”

    The agent called the bureau “Trumplandia”, with some colleagues openly discussing voting for a GOP nominee who has garnered unprecedented condemnation from the party’s national security wing and who has pledged to jail Clinton if elected.

    Read more:

  5. CNN's John Berman‏
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    CNN’s John Berman‏:

    NEW: The President is “is telling associates Mueller will soon write a letter clearing him.”

  6. Citywatch
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The words and phrases that can’t be used at the CDC was the last straw for me. Firing Mueller would be the nail in the coffin. I would certainly be in the street.

  7. Citywatch
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Action, not words.

  8. Iron Lung
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    We should brace for the moment when Trump starts to have Congress give him extra powers.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Word is Trump was very surprised upon taking office that his powers were so limited. I don’t expect congress, or at least the Senate to allow him to expand his power, but there are always executive actions, which are limited only by court review. A judicial branch whose integrity is being vastly undermined by the President with consent of congress. All this in order to further harm the interests of women, LGBTQ, persons of color, the disabled, the poor and working class, small business, science, the environment etc etc. It’s frightening that I feel strongly reliant on the generals actually running things to keep Trump from going total destruction. If he does provoke a war, and we are retaliated against, he will have capacity to expand his power, probably with consent of congress and much of the citizenry. The only thing in our favor is that the establishment GOP see him as an existential threat the their party. They are only conceding to Trump to try to get this tax reform, mollify their base, and please the donor class. That’s a fine political needle to thread. It should not be confused for them minimizing Trump’s threat. He may be stupid and wrong but they aren’t stupid… just wrong.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Citywatch— to clarify, those words are not banned. It was simply suggested that projects would be more likely to receive funding if those words were avoided… I understand this is effectively the same thing. I point it up to show that the evolution of totalitarianism is more insidious than obviously autocratic.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Alex Jones is attributing today’s deadly train wreck in Washington to the Antifa.


  12. Iron Lung
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I fear that it will be impossible to ever elect a normal President again. For decades it will merely be a series of moronic right wing clowns, with an ineffective populist Democrat thrown in from time to time.

  13. Iron Lung
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Remember that “Designated Republican” guy who used to post here, who though that the US’s problems would magically disappear upon election of a Republican President?

  14. ChrisG
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    “I fear that it will be impossible to ever elect a normal President again. For decades it will merely be a series of moronic right wing clowns, with an ineffective populist Democrat thrown in from time to time.”

    Iron Lung, did you use a time machine to get this tweet from 1981 posted?

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Iron Lung— that is the scenario Bannon keeps laying out. Populist rebellion on the left or the right is inevitable. It’s certainly warranted given the degree of wealth hoarding that has taken place among the top 20% (incorrectly called the 1%). But it will make everything worse, as populism does.
    That frightening scenario is another reason why Alabama is so important. Bannon and co took it in the teeth. An establishment Dem with a solid civil rights record won via grassroots organizing but without ‘burn it down’ populist messaging. The Alabama Dem State organization barely exists. The Alabama Dem Party can not even take credit for the win which goes to black GOTV efforts. And yet, even they knew better than to attack the party.

    Anyway, if the left can manage not to render ourselves apart via delusional righteousness and manufactured outraged, the Dems still have capacity to win.

  16. Lynne
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Re: “Anyway, if the left can manage not to render ourselves apart via delusional righteousness and manufactured outraged, the Dems still have capacity to win.”

    Yes. I know that my challenge in the coming months is going to be not to react to the bullshit from the far left as the midterms get underway or at least taking an “I have a different view which is….” approach rather than the more rage filled full of righteousness approach I have been taking. It is going to be hard. I still haven’t forgiven the Bernie Bros for the crappy way they treated me and other women during the last election.

    We have to remember that the Democrats are a big tent and while the organization has problems, there is simply no viable alternative.

  17. Iron Lung
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Some of the Sanders people were the worst. It was truly sad.

    Still is, actually.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    They were so bad that I gained a reputation as an establishment Dem Party apologist, which is nothing of not comical. Come to think of it, I was called pretty much everything during the course of the election, including racist, sexist, classist, an sjw, a capitalist, a neo liberal, a fascist, a special snowflake, and also, memorably, nuts– by the author of this blog. Ok, ok he just said my comment was the most nuts thing on the internet… Bernie fealty did weird things to people.
    Oh, and I was accused of being paid for posts by both HRC and Mark…
    I was the original bot.
    Still waiting for my check.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    My new plan.
    “…feminist witches are joining together against Trump and are building elaborate “altars and tables with candles and pentagrams,” to create an “almost—a sense of sisterhood.”
    “They have these other women which they can kind of get together and have a weird time with,… I think it scares religious people. Obviously, a lot of these people are atheistic. They like to wind up the Christians. … I think they also have a kind of—they feel like they have a connection to the persecuted women of the Salem witch trials. They look at these women and see them as kind of as victims of patriarchy, almost.”

  20. Iron lung
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I was accused of receiving money from the Clinton campaign no less than three times.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I have been reading a lot of Andrew Sullivan lately as some sort of hedge against the hatred and divisiveness. Of course, he is considered divisive– by both sides.
    But then, this ostracism of anyone with an opposing viewpoint is precisely what leads to the extremism we loathe– at least on the other side.
    I don’t agree with everything Sullivan says. That’s why I read him. He has his own take, and he points very precisely to how his perspective was formed. Disagreement should be highly valued. We should celebrate it.
    This is not a new idea. It’s the foundation of our system of governance. And that system was created as a means to prevent tyranny.
    Here is an example of a piece that made me think, which turned my thinking slightly, because I didn’t agree with much of its premise. That is the antidote. I don’t want any part of partisan politics. I REALLY want no part of third party politics. I can be active in movements outside of partisan politics or political ideologies of any kind. Localism, redistricting reform, addressing racism, sexism, sexual abuse, domestic violence and poverty, reproductive rights, climate change, refugee and immigration services, etc etc. None of these are inherently partisan; All would benefit from being less so. There are in fact examples of people doing good work on these issues from left and right perspectives. We have to reach for solutions. We have to ask more of one another, in both compassion and complexity of thought. We have to seek solutions over a need to feel we are on the right side. Having seen how partisan thinking makes people on all sides vulnerable to trickery and fuckery, I’m convinced that this is the only way to be on the right side of history in this moment.


  22. Jim
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Trump is feeling pretty good about himself today. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a move against Mueller by the end of the week.

  23. kjc
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    fuck andrew sullivan so hard.

    “I brought a lot of readers to [Ta-Nehesi Coates] blog and helped him get where he is. I think he’s a beautiful writer and a very, very sharp mind. I deeply regret where he ended up. … And I think Beyond the World and Me [sic] was a really terrible book. Just the crudeness of it, in the despair of it, in the melodrama of it. It terribly disappointed me, and similarly his public position that we live in some crushing white supremacy, which I don’t believe we do, or that African Americans have no agency in terms of their lives and their future and that they haven’t made huge strides in this country and are not one of the most powerful and dominant cultural and political forces. So I don’t see it the way he does. I certainly respect him, but I find myself deeply alienated by his current politics. He didn’t used to be this doctrinaire or so absorbed by the sort of social justice left, but here we are.” ~ Andrew Sullivan,

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    kjc– I don;t agree with him on that at all. I still think he has important things to say. And Beyond the World got a lot of criticism from African Americans as well. They feel Coates writes for White people, not for them or for his son, which is the book’s premise. I’m grateful Coates writes for a White audience. I think he’s saying things that need to be heard in a way that White people can hear. I do take Sullivan’s point though that Coates used to be more willing to criticize some of the approaches within Black anti-racism movements as well, particularly segregationist impulses (which happen in every movement for justice), but he no longer does. The idea that anyone’s perspective can not be judged or criticized based on their position in society is highly problematic. Sullivan tweaks in ways that are constructive. He is a conservative voice that is much more thoughtful and less ideologically righteous than most.

  25. Demetrius
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting item relevant to the discussion above:

    NYT: Past Debates Echo in Split Between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates


  26. Washington Post's EJ Dionne
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    People worried Trump “will take the risk of blowing up” Mueller probe because “the risk of letting it go forward may be even more dangerous for him” – @EJDionne on emergency plan being in place for possible Mueller firing


2 Trackbacks

  1. […] « We all need to be prepared to take to the streets when Trump fires Mueller… which now … […]

  2. By The plot to shutter the Department of Justice on January 4, 2018 at 8:52 am

    […] Trump, it’s no secret, hates the Department of Justice (DOJ), which, as we discussed yesterday, he’s recently begun to refer to as “the deep state justice department.” Simply put, he seems to feel as though DOJ officials should be doing his bidding, and, based on a number of accounts, he’s furious that they aren’t. To hear White House insiders tell it, Trump is still irate that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when it became known that he’d lied under oath about several meetings he’d taken with representatives of the Russian government as an emissary of the Trump campaign, recused himself from all matters related to the investigation, instead of just shutting the whole thing down. And, of course, Trump is also not happy with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who just recently went back in front of the House Judiciary Committee to reiterate his support of the Mueller investigation. [Trump has referred to Rosenstein as being both “weak” and a threat.] So, with the net beginning to tighten around the President and members of his inner circle, many of us thought that Trump might fire either Sessions or Rosenstein over the holiday break, making room for a new Departm…. […]

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