Several rumors continue circulating that Mr. Trump wants to fire the Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, Rod Rosenstein, or Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, with reports by major media outlets such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, confirming such speculation.
And despite these speculations, Republicans seem content to march this nation towards a constitutional crisis.
Bipartisan legislation moving slowly through the Senate ultimately will face Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader who does not see a need to pass such legislation when he states:
“I haven’t seen a clear indication yet that we needed to pass something to keep him from being removed because I don’t think that’s going to happen, and that remains my view,” McConnell told reporters.”
According to Roll Call, “the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote in two weeks” on the measure, but also notes the hurdles the bill faces, the “push back by McConnell,” and a “likely veto from Mr. Trump himself,” as noted by several sources.
In addition, House Speaker Paul Ryan, when asked by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press yesterday, whether he would allow the bill to the floor to be voted upon said this:
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” the Wisconsin Republican said during an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when specifically asked whether he would bring such a bill to the House floor if it passed the Senate. “I don’t think he’s going to fire Mueller.”
At best, the Republicans’ response is tepid when considering this legislation meaning that should this matter be pushed far enough leading the nation into a constitutional crisis, blame can be placed squarely at the republicans’ feet.
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) who co-sponsored one of the bills to protect Robert Mueller indicates the legislation is “more urgent than ever” in light of Mr. Trump’s comments made about Mueller last Monday after his lawyer and long time friend, Michael Cohen’s properties were raided, and added this:
“I appreciate that all of my Republican colleagues appreciate the risk to the rule of law that an inappropriate, abrupt firing of the special counsel by the President would create,” Coons said. “I am deeply puzzled by the lack of urgency or motivation to take some simple measured steps to address it.”
To be clear: The term constitutional crisis is an oft used phrase in the media, when discussing problematic issues of government, however it has very real ramifications for our country, and its meaning should not be lost.
Most political scientists agree that a constitutional crisis occurs when “a problem or conflict in the function of a government that the political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve.”
For example, if our constitution provides a remedy for a problem which arises, but it is considered by a party or parties within the body politic to not be feasible to follow, a constitutional crisis ensues.
Watch the following video from The Rachel Maddow Show to learn what a constitutional crisis is:
Critics of the proposed legislation by Republicans in the Senate rightfully point out how the bipartisan proposal only protects Mueller. Yet, last week a barrage of speculation occurred when Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when asked about Rosenstein’s future, cryptically stated she “didn’t have any announcements at this time.”
With much of the media’s focus on Mueller, should Mr. Trump fire Rosenstein he could place someone in that position who would then control the investigation by Mr. Mueller. In effect, that person could even shut the investigation down.
As CNBC reports, if Rosenstein were fired, Solicitor General Noal Francisco would be his replacement. This maneuver should not be taken lightly as Francisco recently “intervened in a Securities and Exchange Commission case and reasserted Trump’s constitutional ability to hire and fire basically all federal authorities.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Francisco states the following regarding the issue:
“The Constitution gives the president what the framers saw as the traditional means of ensuring accountability: the power to oversee executive officers through removal,” Francisco said in the case, the newspaper reported.”
And this analysis deals specifically with the nation allowing Mueller to do his job so the American people know what occurred during the 2016 presidential election. What happens if Mueller is allowed to conclude? What obstacles does the nation face then?
Greg Sargent, Opinion Writer spells those obstacles out in his Washington Post piece today.
After pointing to the “grave charges” made by former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director, James Comey, during his interview last night, Sargent wonders how much we, the American people, will learn should “Comey’s hints at just how serious Mueller’s findings could end up being on multiple fronts.”
Watch Comey’s interview with USA Today below:
Sargent explains how Mueller due to regulations will file a “confidential report” to the deputy attorney general.
Per those same regulations, according to Sargent, the deputy attorney general is then supposed to provide leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees with an “explanation” for the decision to end the probe, which he can release publicly if he chooses.
However, what information is shared with Congress and the American people, if any, remains under the discretion of the deputy attorney general.
Furthermore, after consulting with Texas Law School professor, Stephen Vladeck, Sargent reports the expert provides the following analysis of what could theoretically take place should Trump fire Rosenstein:
“He could send over something that says only, “Dear Congress, I’m pleased to report that the investigation has concluded,” Vladeck tells me. “Or he could send over something that’s more than one sentence, but still falls well short of a detailed overview of the special counsel’s work.”
Of course, as Sargent points out: Congress could act now to ensure the American people know the entire findings by Mueller.
Good luck with that, huh?
Again: Should Mueller or Rosenstein be fired, leading to a constitutional crisis, Republicans will be solely to blame.
The question we as Americans should be asking is why the GOP resists protecting the people tasked with this investigation?
Do they have something they do not want us to see?
A social psychologist by day, political analyst and journalist by night, Dr. Mark Bear has built an established audience by printing facts, without click-bait, sensationalism, or hyperbole. He is married to his wife of 34 years, and both he and his wife, Susan, have a Schnauzer named Shadow. Follow along by connecting with Doc on Facebook or Twitter under the handle Dr. Progressive!