In recent days, the rumor has zinged around Washington that Trump will fire Mueller on December 22, as Congress leaves town for the holidays.
The speculation is fueled by the notion that the investigation is nearing a crescendo that requires Trump to act now or face dire consequences. The accumulating evidence against Trump, his family, and his allies, complemented by a barrage of right-wing media and Congressional assaults on the legitimacy of Mueller and the FBI, buttress the notion that Trump’s allies are preparing the ground for imminent bloodletting.
I don’t buy it. Predicting Trump’s behavior is a fool’s errand. He acts impulsively, and often seems not to know in the morning what he’ll do in the afternoon. But, firing Mueller would provoke an existential crisis for Trump’s presidency. Politicians on the left and right have cited Mueller’s firing as a red line that Trump cannot cross without provoking a constitutional crisis that will put him on the path to impeachment. Trump may calculate, with some reason, that many on the right will back down, and that Republican leaders in the House will not follow through on impeachment proceedings. Regardless, firing Mueller would constitute a declaration by Trump that he is above the law. It would give the public reason to rally even more furiously in opposition to him. Firing Mueller, therefore, would be a high-stakes roll of the dice. Read more