Opinion | Firing Mueller would only make things worse for Trump

 Deputy editorial page editor April 10 at 10:11 AM 

“An attack on our country,” a clearly agitated President Trump said of the search of his attorney’s office and home. Of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump said, “Many people have said, ‘You should fire Mueller.’ ”

Many people are wrong, actually. They suffer from an inability, chronic in this administration, to see two steps ahead. The state of the Mueller probe — and with the expansion into the Southern District of New York, it is not just the Mueller probe — is at a new, perilous stage for the president and his associates.But what Trump, in his fury, fails to comprehend is that firing Mueller will not help matters; it will make them worse. Trump’s best bet, at this point, is to hunker down and endure, as much as that goes against the president’s counterpuncher instincts. Allowing Mueller to remain on the job and finish his work is the president’s best chance — and it’s a good one — for survival, politically and legally.

Strangely, leaving Mueller in place and allowing the investigation to run its course is best for the country, for the rule of law — and for Trump. Mr. President, instead of fulminating about getting rid of Mueller, you should turn your attention to finding yourself a good criminal lawyer.

Here’s why: Firing Mueller, or firing Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein for refusing to dismiss Mueller and then finding another Justice Department official willing to do the deed, won’t make the investigation go away.

The investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russians predated Mueller’s appointment and — unless Trump is willing to take the extraordinary step of ordering the entire investigation to cease — will outlast the existence of the special counsel. The day after President Richard Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and purported to abolish Cox’s office, the prosecutors on Cox’s team turned up at work as Justice Department lawyers. The investigation continued, even before Nixon, under pressure, named Leon Jaworski to replace Cox.

For Trump to fire Mueller, or engineer his removal, would only risk inflaming, potentially, the otherwise compliant, supine congressional Republican majority. Maybe congressional Republicans would roll over for a Mueller firing, too — there’s no underestimating this Republican Party — but why risk it?

The president would be wise to hunker down and let the special counsel investigation run its course.

Source: Opinion | Firing Mueller would only make things worse for Trump

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