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Paladin of Ice

US Politics: The Ides of Mueller

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58 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

An attempt at a Saturday Night Massacre, that doesn't look like a Saturday Night Massacre?  If his new AG fires Mueller its will be a stink, guaranteed.

Yep.  All this crap that Trump can maneuver by replacing him with Pruitt or another previously-confirmed official so that he/she could act as a temporary replacement for 210 days is just kabuki theater (not to mention, why would someone take that position just to be the person that goes down in history as shutting down the Mueller investigation which guarantees she won't be actually confirmed?  There's no self-interest there).  If that happens, and said person defunds Mueller's investigation, it will still have the same effect as a Saturday Night Massacre.  If said person "limits the scope" of the investigation - when Mueller has already demonstrated his lines of inquiry are legitimate based on all the indictments and plea deals, it will have the same effect as a Saturday Night Massacre.  There's no finessing your way around shutting down Mueller's investigation that's gonna somehow look better just because you took a more circumspect avenue.  The whole idea is rather preposterous when you think about it.  

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Hmm...maybe a good thing?  Or perhaps not awful?

https://www.adn.com/politics/2018/03/15/the-interior-department-will-undergo-a-massive-overhaul-using-alaska-as-its-model/?utm_source=ADN&utm_campaign=e227b0bca5-mailchimp_morning_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0facd10a14-e227b0bca5-246462925

 

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is looking to Alaska as he launches plans for a major national reorganization that aims for greater integration of the department's agencies and processes.

"What we're proposing … to redo our regions based on science and unify them so at least Department of Interior — Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Reclamation, all our departments — have unified regions and can talk to each other," Zinke said Thursday at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing.

 

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It seems to me that limiting the scope of the investigation, at this point, isn’t much bettet than firing Mueller.  Wouldn’t such an action be perceived as nothing more than firing Mueller without actually firing him?  Trumps diehards are going to back him no matter what happens.

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8 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

It seems to me that limiting the scope of the investigation, at this point, isn’t much bettet than firing Mueller.  Wouldn’t such an action be perceived as nothing more than firing Mueller without actually firing him?  Trumps diehards are going to back him no matter what happens.

I don't know about that.  I think that if Trump were to stick to his strong "Investigating my businesses is off limits, I will do everything I can to support the Mueller investigation on Russia issues" that would get some traction with the public.  Trump could probably spin it as another partisan squabble.

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13 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

It seems to me that limiting the scope of the investigation, at this point, isn’t much bettet than firing Mueller.  Wouldn’t such an action be perceived as nothing more than firing Mueller without actually firing him?  Trumps diehards are going to back him no matter what happens.

That's because it is; yes; of course.

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I actually think the Senate cares. They wouldn't back Nunes and wouldn't even play around with declaring 'no collusion', rather saying "we haven't seen evidence of NO collusion'.

Maybe the Senate saves the day . After all, they probably would love to have a priest in office.

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24 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

I don't know about that.  I think that if Trump were to stick to his strong "Investigating my businesses is off limits, I will do everything I can to support the Mueller investigation on Russia issues" that would get some traction with the public.  Trump could probably spin it as another partisan squabble.

This still doesn't make any sense.  Let's say the temporary AG gives that order to Mueller.  Mueller would obviously respond that investigating his businesses is relevant to Russia issues - which presumably is the case already.  When the temporary AG orders it anyway, Mueller has two options - continue the investigation and force the temporary AG to fire him, or draft a resignation letter detailing how the "limited scope" is tantamount to shutting down the investigation.  Either way, same effect.

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2 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

This still doesn't make any sense.  Let's say the temporary AG gives that order to Mueller.  Mueller would obviously respond that investigating his businesses is relevant to Russia issues - which presumably is the case already.  When the temporary AG orders it anyway, Mueller has two options - continue the investigation and force the temporary AG to fire him, or draft a resignation letter detailing how the "limited scope" is tantamount to shutting down the investigation.  Either way, same effect.

I think that for Trump, Mueller resigning would totally be preferable to Mueller being fired.  Both would look bad, but firing the guy who's investigating you looks a lot worse than that guy resigning and being pissed off. 

As for the "Mueller disobeys orders" scenario, that doesn't seem to fit with all the descriptions of Mueller as a straight arrow all the way.  Even then the AG could just start monkeying with the budget, micromanage each member of Mueller's team and what they're working on, and ensure that anything that was related to Trump's business doesn't get funded.  That kind of smothering death would definitely raise alarms with Democrats, but it makes the story much more complicated than a simple "Trump fired the guy investigating him" story, and Americans don't have patience for complicated political stories. 

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10 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

I think that for Trump, Mueller resigning would totally be preferable to Mueller being fired.  Both would look bad, but firing the guy who's investigating you looks a lot worse than that guy resigning and being pissed off. 

My point is the process of firing the AG, then the temporary AG using his authority to force Mueller to resign in protest will engender the same reaction as any other manner in which Mueller is ousted.  Remember a big part of the Saturday Night Massacre was the AG and Deputy AG resigning in protest.

10 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

As for the "Mueller disobeys orders" scenario, that doesn't seem to fit with all the descriptions of Mueller as a straight arrow all the way.

Said this a couple months back, but this is a misinterpretation of Mueller's reputation.  A reputation that is largely built when Comey refused to reauthorize an NSA spying program, Mueller having his back, and then the two of them heading off Andy Card and Alberto Gonzalez at John Ashcroft's hospital bed.  That whole reputation is based on Mueller fighting superiors for what he believes in.

13 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Even then the AG could just start monkeying with the budget, micromanage each member of Mueller's team and what they're working on, and ensure that anything that was related to Trump's business doesn't get funded.  That kind of smothering death would definitely raise alarms with Democrats, but it makes the story much more complicated than a simple "Trump fired the guy investigating him" story, and Americans don't have patience for complicated political stories. 

Again, resign in protest.  Any defunding would be a very transparent maneuver, and I don't know how you ensure only things related to Trump's business are de-funded, or really what micromanaging entails.

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34 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Again, resign in protest.  Any defunding would be a very transparent maneuver, and I don't know how you ensure only things related to Trump's business are de-funded, or really what micromanaging entails.

It would be very transparent to those who are suspicious of Trump. His supporters in Congress and in the public will rationalize it by saying that the investigation was taking too long and had grown bloated and therefore it was the right move to cut its budget. I’m skeptical that Congressional Republicans would take any action short of Trump firing Mueller.

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1 minute ago, Tywin et al. said:

His supporters in Congress and in the public will rationalize it by saying that the investigation was taking too long and had grown bloated and therefore it was the right move to cut its budget. I’m skeptical that Congressional Republicans would take any action short of Trump firing Mueller.

And?  His supporters in Congress and the public will rationalize it if today he just fires Rosenstein and the next ten in line if that's what it takes to end the Mueller investigation.  As for the Congressional GOP not taking any action, the vast majority of course, but if he fires Sessions he's not getting a stooge AG confirmed - I'd bet money Flake, Corker, Collins, and McCain if he's still alive would block any such nominee.  Which, again, means another Senate-confirmed official is taking on the acting AG job for 210 days just to be knows as the person that shutdown the Mueller investigation with no hope of ever getting confirmed.  Not a great gig.

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47 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Again, resign in protest.  Any defunding would be a very transparent maneuver, and I don't know how you ensure only things related to Trump's business are de-funded, or really what micromanaging entails.

What micromanagement would mean?  Mueller is expected to have a meeting with the AG every Friday to discuss progress on the case that week and what each of his team members are working on.  Even if the AG didn't interfere at all, that would help Trump stay abreast of what is coming, something they've struggled with thus far.  And if there's some avenue that Trump finds unacceptable the AG can order it to stop. 

Mueller can resign in protest, but I don't think it would carry nearly the same weight of outrage as firing him.  If Mueller has to make the argument "Trump wouldn't allow me to do my job and investigate Jared Kushner's shady real estate empire", that is going to lead him very open to "What does that have to do with collusion?  This is a witch hunt!" 

I'm not arguing this path is foolproof - it would carry political costs.  But they are lower than just firing Rosenstein and Mueller outright.  And they are probably lower than letting Mueller investigate wherever he sees smoke, because he's gonna find all kinds of nasty stuff.  

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17 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

And?  His supporters in Congress and the public will rationalize it if today he just fires Rosenstein and the next ten in line if that's what it takes to end the Mueller investigation.  As for the Congressional GOP not taking any action, the vast majority of course, but if he fires Sessions he's not getting a stooge AG confirmed - I'd bet money Flake, Corker, Collins, and McCain if he's still alive would block any such nominee.  Which, again, means another Senate-confirmed official is taking on the acting AG job for 210 days just to be knows as the person that shutdown the Mueller investigation with no hope of ever getting confirmed.  Not a great gig.

Yea, but Pruitt would do it. He's the fucker putting his name out there to take over. He can do a ton of damage in 8 months.

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5 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

What micromanagement would mean?  Mueller is expected to have a meeting with the AG every Friday to discuss progress on the case that week and what each of his team members are working on.  Even if the AG didn't interfere at all, that would help Trump stay abreast of what is coming, something they've struggled with thus far.  And if there's some avenue that Trump finds unacceptable the AG can order it to stop. 

Not sure how that's really micromanaging.  That's just the temporary AG violating protocol and discussing the investigation with Trump - which would actually be the temporary AG putting himself in jeopardy if the Dems take back the House. 

7 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Mueller can resign in protest, but I don't think it would carry nearly the same weight of outrage as firing him.

Well, I do.  We just fundamentally disagree on this.  The notion that the backlash is going to be any less muted because they enact the Saturday Night Massacre in a more slow-motion fashion is rather ridiculous to me - it's not like it'd be fooling anybody other than people that already want to be fooled.  And the notion Trump and co. are going to outmaneuver Bob Mueller to mollify his investigation without Mueller making sure the backlash carries the same weight is particularly preposterous to me.

12 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

And they are probably lower than letting Mueller investigate wherever he sees smoke, because he's gonna find all kinds of nasty stuff.

This is obviously a calculation Trump should have made months ago.

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5 minutes ago, Mexal said:

Yea, but Pruitt would do it. He's the fucker putting his name out there to take over. He can do a ton of damage in 8 months.

I really don't know if Pruitt wants to be That Guy, but if he does, doesn't really change my point.  And 210 days = 7 months!

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Jesus, Wolff Blitzer may actually have been raised a German Wolf.

Regarding Russia infiltrating American power grids etc. "Oh, Mutual Assured Destruction. If you turn off our power we'll turn off yours. It kept us out of nuclear war so far I guess..."

That was the most sobering transition to commercial I've ever seen.

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25 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

And?  His supporters in Congress and the public will rationalize it if today he just fires Rosenstein and the next ten in line if that's what it takes to end the Mueller investigation.  As for the Congressional GOP not taking any action, the vast majority of course, but if he fires Sessions he's not getting a stooge AG confirmed - I'd bet money Flake, Corker, Collins, and McCain if he's still alive would block any such nominee.  Which, again, means another Senate-confirmed official is taking on the acting AG job for 210 days just to be knows as the person that shutdown the Mueller investigation with no hope of ever getting confirmed.  Not a great gig.

I think Congressional Republicans, especially in the Senate, would revolt if he straight up fires Muller. Idk what House Republicans would do though, but I'm not sure that matters because firing Mueller would probably guarantee the House flips. 

As far as firing Sessions goes, (i) he doesn't have to to get to Mueller and (ii) I think it's more likely that Sessions resigns. But regardless, like others have said I think he would get Pruitt or another cabinet member to step in and end the investigation, one way or the other. That can be achieved in less than 210 days. I'm sure there's a sycophant willing to fall on the sword for Trump. 

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17 hours ago, Shryke said:

Trump just wants it because he loves authoritarianism and fascism. He's all about just shooting "criminals" in the streets. It's part of his appeal to his base.

And he hates black people. Soooooooo if he can kill people, specifically black people, he'll do it.

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