Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 10 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/21/18

Can Trump Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller?

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   No comments
Author 47089
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert Reich
Become a Fan
  (128 fans)

From Robert Reich Blog

Robert Mueller and Donald Trump
Robert Mueller and Donald Trump
(Image by YouTube, Channel: CBC News)
  Details   DMCA

Yes, but at a huge cost to our system, and to Trump's presidency

Begin with the law: Justice Department regulations issued in 1999, in the wake of Kenneth Starr's investigation of Bill Clinton, say that only an Attorney General can remove a special counsel, and not just for any reason. Such a removal must be based on a finding that the special counsel was guilty of "misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, so the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, is in charge. If Trump directed Rosenstein to fire Mueller, Rosenstein would have to find "good cause" to remove Mueller, or repeal the Department's regulation requiring such a finding, and then fire Mueller.

If Rosenstein refused, Trump could fire Rosenstein, and direct the next official in line to fire Mueller. And he could keep firing people down the chain of command until he got someone who would fire Mueller.

Richard Nixon did something like this in what came to be known as the "Saturday Night Massacre," ordering Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. When Richardson refused and resigned in protest, Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused, and resigned. Nixon then ordered the Solicitor General, Robert Bork, who was then acting head of the Department, to fire Cox. Bork did the deed.

There's an alternative open to Trump. He could simply order Attorney General Sessions to repeal the special counsel regulations, and then Trump could fire Mueller himself.

But, as the Nixon saga showed, these routes would be perilous -- both for Trump's presidency and for our system of government, because they would undermine public trust in the impartiality of our system of justice and in the office of the presidency.

They would also further divide the country between Trump supporters who believe the Mueller investigation to be part of a conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency, and the vast majority of Americans who are more likely to believe, as a result of these actions, that Trump has done something that he wants to hide at all costs.

The question is whether Trump is willing to risk it, nonetheless.

 

Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Robert Reich Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Trump Cornered

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them)

Paul Ryan Still Doesn't Get It

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

What to Do About Disloyal Corporations

The Gas Wars