President Donald Trump uttered the words: we’ll see what happens. This has been the kiss of death for more than a couple top-level officials; just ask Steve Bannon and Rex Tillerson. He was speaking about Special Counsel Robert Mueller and whether he would fire him. Mueller, who is heading the DOJ’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in 2016, forwarded information to fellow federal authorities that was outside his purview, but might have been felonious in nature. Whatever the case Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the FBI raiding the offices, residence, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer. The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York oversaw the search. Trump said the raid was an attack on the nation, a disgrace, and a witch-hunt. It was first reported that the search was executed to obtain documents relating to payments to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who alleges an affair with Trump in 2006. She was paid $130,000 in 2016, which many see as hush money, but could also be viewed as illegal campaign contributions since its aim was to suppress damaging information on Trump. Now, it seems the focus of the search was on anything related to the 2005 Access Hollywood tape.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) slammed President Trump’s remarks, adding that legislation might be needed to protect Mueller from being fired. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other Republicans seem to have warmed to that sentiment (via The Hill):
The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to move forward with legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller, a significant shift that comes amid growing pressure from Democrats.
Some Republicans sought to hit the brakes on the bill, but the decision from committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) shows there is a growing appetite among some in the GOP for a legislative response to President Trump’s apparent willingness to fire the man leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia's election meddling.
Just a day earlier, Senate Republicans warned Trump not to take any action against Mueller, saying it would be disastrous. Grassley, in some of the strongest comments from the caucus, said it would be “suicide.”
But on Wednesday, Trump renewed his attacks on the special counsel, complaining of the “never ending and corrupt Russia investigation.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) announced later Wednesday morning that they would merge their competing bills on the special counsel, creating a bipartisan vehicle for action.
Grassley’s decision appeared to catch even members of Republican leadership off guard.
It should also be noted that Grassley has not said whether he would support the bill or not. Firing Mueller would be a nightmare for the Trump White House. It would increase chances of impeachment articles and if the Democrats win the House in 2018, you bet there will be a string of hearings that will further hamstring this presidency. Mueller should be allowed to do his job. After all, he said that Trump is not the target of a criminal investigation and after a year of investigating, there’s still no evidence that would suggest there was collusion between the Trump camp and the Russians. The FBI raid on his lawyer may infuriate trump, but axing Mueller would set off an A-bomb with no real dividends to be reaped from that move.