What Will It Take To Dump Trump?
The general assumption in Washington has been that only one of two things could cause the Republican leadership to turn on Trump and begin removal proceedings, either under the 25th Amendment or via articles of impeachment.
One would be a smoking gun so dramatic that Republicans would be compelled to move. That could be some new revelation of direct collusion between Trump personally and the Russian government. Or it could be documented conflicts of interest where Trump explicitly used his office for personal enrichment. Or it might be Trump firing special counsel Robert Mueller, either before or after Mueller issued subpoenas compelling the White House to produce evidence. That, coupled with Trump’s ouster of FBI chief James Comey, would compound the president’s obstruction of justice.
With each day that Mueller remains on the case, he becomes harder for Trump to fire without incurring fatal damage. Mueller is extremely popular among leading House and Senate Republicans. Republican leaders who are normally Trump apologists have gone out of their way to praise Mueller. If they are saying this in public, they are surely warning the White House privately to keep hands off.
Ousting Mueller would probably require firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well, setting in motion a Saturday Night Massacre scenario in which Trump had to work his way down the Justice Department hierarchy until he found someone willing to do his bidding.
This would signal that Trump is becoming steadily more unhinged. It could well lead Congress to enact a new law for a special counsel who could not be fired by the executive branch. And it would put immense pressure on Republicans to begin a formal impeachment inquiry. Conversely, if Mueller is not removed, his investigation is likely to unearth details of impeachable offenses that will be hard for […]