Trump’s own voters are now warning him against firing Robert Mueller | Spanlish


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Friday, May 18, 2018

Trump’s own voters are now warning him against firing Robert Mueller

Getty/Alex Wong/Mark Wilson

Getty/Alex Wong/Mark Wilson

At least some of President Donald Trump's own voters don't want him to fire Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

This, at least, was the justifiable conclusion one could draw from a recent report in The Washington Post.

“People would be suspicious,” said Betsy Novak, 55, a greenhouse worker who voted for Trump.
“It [would be] hiding something,” said Curt Hetzel, 48, a shipping and receiving manager who also voted for Trump.
“Politically, it would be a terrible idea,” said yet another Trump backer, Sam Goldner, 25, a warehouse manager.

To be clear: The article did not claim that Trump voters were opposed to their president. The 12 people who were assembled in the Milwaukee focus group were split along party lines when it came to how they felt Trump had performed as president on a number of issues. The fact that they all agreed that Trump should not fire Mueller was all the more remarkable because it came from people who were otherwise supportive of the president.
Indeed, this was true even though individual perceptions of Mueller's character were heavily influenced by whether a voter was pro-Trump or anti-Trump.

All 12 of the assembled voters said they were following news about the Mueller probe, and their views of the special counsel were colored by their feelings about the president. Those who oppose Trump described Mueller as “intelligent,” “respected,” “smart,” “diligent” and “unstoppable.” But Trump’s supporters called the former Marine Corps captain and FBI director “unethical,” “desperate,” “partisan” and “a liar.”

"Partisan America is alive and well in Wisconsin. I felt that people are pretty frozen in place. The one thing they agreed with was Robert Mueller should not be fired. That’s about as close as they get to a unified position," Peter D. Hart, the longtime Democratic pollster who held the focus group for Emory University, told the Post.
Recent polls back up the anecdotal evidence from the Post's article. Fifty-four percent of Americans said that they thought Mueller's investigation into Trump is fair, according to a Quinnipiac University poll from last month. That same poll found that 74 percent of Americans did not think Trump should fire Mueller, although 52 percent did not think the president should be impeached or removed from office if he does so (42 percent think he should). Americans were split about possible congressional legislation that would prevent Trump from firing Mueller, with 46 percent supporting such a bill and 44 percent opposing it.
Another poll taken in April yielded similar results. Sixty-nine percent of respondents to an ABC News/Washington Post poll said they supported Mueller using his power as special counsel to investigate potential collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, according to CNN. Majorities were also willing to support Mueller's investigation into other aspects of Trump's conduct: Sixty-four percent said they would support probing Trump's past business dealings and 58 percent said they would support Mueller looking into accusations that Trump paid hush money to women who had affairs with him, including the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, which the president evidently made through attorney Michael Cohen.
That same poll also found that 48 percent of Americans find former FBI Director James Comey to be more believable than Trump. Only 32 percent said that Trump was the more believable of the two.
Even some of Trump's Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill have made it clear that firing Mueller is a line that the president should not cross.
"Well, I think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt in March, according to USA Today.
Graham went on to say that "I can’t think of a more upsetting moment in the rule of law to have an investigator looking at a president’s campaign as to whether or not they colluded with a foreign government, what kind of crimes may have been committed. I’ve seen no evidence of collusion, but to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a constitutional crisis."
Graham's feelings were echoed by one of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
"We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there," Flake wrote on Twitter in March. (Flake is not running for re-election this year, largely because his criticisms of Trump have made it unlikely he would win the Republican nomination in Arizona.)
Although Trump has intimated on many previous occasions that he has thought about firing Mueller, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani recently went public with the declaration that Mueller's office doesn't have the power to indict the president even if he does find criminal behavior, according to CNN.
"The Justice Department memos going back to before Nixon say that you cannot indict a sitting president, you have to impeach him. Now there was a little time in which there was some dispute about that, but they acknowledged to us orally that they understand that they can't violate the Justice Department rules," Giuliani told CNN.

He added, "We think it's bigger than that. We think it's a constitutional rule, but I don't think you're ever going to confront that because nobody's ever going to indict a sitting president. So, what does that leave them with? That leaves them with writing a report."

If Trump does fire Mueller, that would create a circumstance paralleling the legendary "Saturday Night Massacre" of 1973, when President Richard Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was eager to dismiss Cox because the latter refused to accept a compromise Nixon had offered regarding potentially incriminating White House tapes. Nixon had suggested that the recordings be reviewed and summarized by a third party, but Cox insisted on receiving the actual tapes, prompting Nixon to order his ouster.

In one extraordinary night, Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both resigned instead of agreeing to fire Cox. That ultimately left the responsibility to Solicitor General Robert Bork, third in line at the Justice Department, who would later become a failed Supreme Court nominee under Ronald Reagan.

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