Special counsel Robert Mueller (AKA former FBI director AKA Russian ties investigator AKA lawyer extraordinaire) is on a mission to explore crime and punishment in the Trump white house. This week everyone found out that there’s a grand jury set up in Washington, DC. Which can issue subpoenas. And get witnesses to testify. Cue media and twitterverse meltdown. So what does this mean? Well actually it’s NBD; a grand jury just shows the case is progressing, and perhaps widening, beyond just former national security advisor Gen Michael Flynn and Donald Trump Jr. However the fact that Mueller’s dream team consists of the top dozen financial crimes prosecutors in America (think: specialists in foreign bribery, money laundering and the Watergate scandal) indicates that Mueller is now looking for financial crimes tied to President Trump’s business dealings. Nyet a good sign.
So does this mean Mueller is going to press criminal charges against Trump, you ask? Short answer: not at this point. However it’s unlikely that Mueller would have set up a grand jury if he didn’t already have compelling evidence which may lead to a presidential impeachment later. However, since the process is all legally hush hush, this is all pretty much just speculation. So what’s Trump going to do about it? Well since he can’t easily fire Mueller any more (thanks, recent bipartisan bills from Congress) Trump is doing his best to undermine the legitimacy of Mueller, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the justice department, the FBI, Congress, Democrats, the media and anyone else he thinks is an enemy in a fit of tweet-laden rally-fueled rage. #FoolProof
In the end, even if President Trump ousted Mueller tomorrow, there is no guarantee that he could kill off the investigation altogether – on the contrary, it’s more likely to intensify the Russian spotlight. And the price of firing the popular and highly respected special counsel might be too high; causing an uproar in Washington, alienating the GOP and hammering his credibility into the dirt. Uh, you know, even more so. However Trump is a believer in attack being the best form of defense, even when that seems counter-productive to the investigation, popular opinion or governing. So even though his administration is struggling with historically low approval numbers and a lack of progress on its legislative agenda, probably don’t expect him to stay silent on this issue. Incidentally, this week marked one year since the beginning of the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Happy birthday, Mr. President.
Feel like you could use a good kick to get your ass in gear? Movie for your obstinate mood: Shrek