If Trump Did Nothing Wrong, Why Would He Even Consider Firing Mueller or Rosenstein?
Life is often extremely complex, and yet when it comes to understanding what is really going on, it usually helps to keep things as straight-forward as possible. This is why I am a big fan of the principle of “Occam’s Razor” (the simplest explanation is usually the best).
When it comes to the special counsel’s Trump/Russia investigation, this definitely seems to be a good policy. It is especially the case since the primary character in this drama, President Trump, is man who appears to be infant-like in the very clear connection between his base impulses and his reactions to events.
Of course, it is always important to keep in mind that Trump, largely because he seems to lack some of the basic components of normal humanity, may not always respond to stimuli in a rational manner. However, it is still usually possible to draw some solid conclusions, especially in the macro.
With that in mind, Trump’s continual obsession with the idea of firing Robert Mueller, or at least his “boss” Rod Rosenstein, enflamed by the FBI’s raid on his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, seems to lead to only one logical conclusion: Trump must know he is guilty of something rather serious.
Keeping it all as simple as possible, why the heck would Trump ever seriously consider firing anyone related to this investigation if he is telling the truth and therefore has nothing to significant to hide?
I am not naïve. While I have full confidence in Mueller and Rosenstein (who, it cannot be pointed out enough, was personally appointed by Trump), I get that an innocent person might think that they were being railroaded by an out of control investigation and be willing to do anything they could to stop what they saw as a budding injustice.
However, let’s be very clear, the president of the United States is in a truly unique situation and therefore cannot be evaluated through the prism of a normal person facing a criminal probe. He has the massive power of the presidency, as well as the majority of both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court to defend/protect him against any flimsy or faulty charges which may be leveled against him by the special counsel. Heck, he could admit to being guilty and the vast majority of his “Cult 45” fan club would think that he was playing some brilliant game of political chess, or that he was justified in whatever it is that he did.
It is important to remember that Mueller and Rosenstein are NOT acting as the final judges here. At worst, Trump would face an allegation/indictment which, on its own, would be almost meaningless, at least at first, to the president.
I actually believe that, unless there was overwhelming evidence of very serious crimes, Trump will never be removed from office, even if Democrats take over Congress. Quite simply, the political threshold is just too high, especially in this highly partisan era, and no one, including the news media, will have a real incentive to see him tossed out. Everyone who matters would much rather see Trump survive as a wounded/impeached president running for reelection.
By firing Mueller or Rosenstein, Trump would effectively be ending ANY chance of legitimate exoneration, which the choice of Mueller, a highly respected Republican, had actually gifted to him. It would also telegraph to everyone but the most ardent members of his “Cult 45” that he must be guilty of something. Otherwise he would have at least waited for the information to come out in the expectation that he, as a presumably innocent man, would have nothing about which to really worry.
This forfeiture of the “exoneration option” is by far the most compelling reason for Trump not to fire anyone. This is because, as incredibly sad as it is, a very strong argument can be made that Trump could, rather easily, get away with doing it.
Sure, the media, the Democrats, and even some Republicans would pitch a fit for a couple of days, but then Trump would do something dramatic to change the subject and the story would quickly fade. Yes, Republicans would get clobbered in November, but Trump clearly doesn’t really give a damn about that in comparison to his own personal well-being.
Therefore, there are only three rational ways to interpret the fact that Trump clearly does not value the “exoneration option” enough to have it alone keep him from wanting to fire those with the only chance to provide him that conclusion: He’s a moron, he knows the “exoneration option” is worthless, or both.
John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.