On Monday morning, for a few tense minutes, it seemed like Donald Trump was about to exercise a show of presidential power by summoning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the White House and having Chief of Staff John Kelly fire Rosenstein as the first step of shutting down the Russia investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
As it turned out, Rosenstein was only at the White House for a meeting with Kelly, and we later learned that Trump will meet with the Deputy AG on Thursday, September 27 when it’s widely believed he will personally dismiss Rosenstein and replace him with a more pliable (i.e. obedient) overseer of the Russia probe.
But even if Trump does give Rosenstein the boot, it turns out he can’t actually end the Mueller investigation.
Martin London is a retired former partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and in an article he wrote for Time, London says the case being compiled by Mueller’s team of investigators is too far along to be derailed:
“The more important reason to not fire Rosenstein, though, is that getting rid of him may not solve Trump’s Mueller problem. Mueller has by now put together a huge dossier of his findings, some of which may jeopardize not only Trump, but members of his family. What that means is: firing Mueller will not make his investigation go away.”
How so? As London goes on to explain, even if Mueller is somehow pushed out, that wouldn’t eliminate the ongoing cases being built by U.S. Attorneys in states such as New York or the attorney generals of various states who have been handed cases by the special counsel:
“Mueller has already referred several cases — on Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, alleged unregistered Russian agent Maria Butina and 12 Russian intelligence officers — respectively to federal prosecutors in New York, the U.S. attorney in D.C. and the Justice Department’s National Security Division. There is no reason to believe Mueller wouldn’t share his intelligence with all relevant possible prosecutors if the investigation was threatened before its end.”
Also, if Trump does fire Rosenstein and then moves against Mueller — especially before the midterm election — he all but guarantees he will be impeached by the next Congress, which will likely contain a lot more Democrats who are eager to make their careers by ridding this country of Donald J. Trump.
Bottom line: Trump is screwed no matter what he does, and the only person to blame is the one he sees when he looks in the mirror.