What will happen to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election and any alleged conspiracy between the Donald Trump campaign and Moscow? That question became highly charged when the president inserted a lackey into the attorney general’s position. Now, we have some inkling about where things are headed.
POTUS found a guy on cable news to replace newly fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions as acting AG. Matthew Whitaker theoretically could take the Mueller investigation away from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, now that the recused Sessions is out of the picture.
Whitaker has a number of serious problems. The first is whether or not it was constitutional to place him in that position. After all, Trump ignored the traditional pattern of succession, so by all accounts Rosenstein should have replaced Sessions. Instead, Trump reached down through the ranks and pulled out Sessions’ chief of staff and DOJ mole to the president.
Not only that, Whitaker has never been confirmed by the Senate. Yet, as Salon reported, the U.S. Code Section 508 supersedes the Federal Vacancy Reform Act (FVRA), meaning Whitaker’s appointment was unconstitutional.
Regardless, Whitaker has the Mueller probe at least for the time being. Now, what is he going to do with it? Salon suggested that one possibility was firing the special counsel outright. Salon’s regular contributor and host of The Bob Cesca Show, Bob Cesca came up with three eventualities. In the first, Cesca posited:
‘Trump doesn’t care about appearances any more, so Whitaker could very easily fire Mueller. Trump will naturally deny that he ordered Whitaker to do it. Then Whitaker, with Trump’s approval, will appoint a replacement prosecutor with unquestioned loyalty to Trump. If Sen. Lindsey Graham isn’t earmarked to become the permanent attorney general, it wouldn’t surprise me if Graham were promoted into the post. Or worse. Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro could easily become the next special counsel…No matter who the replacement may be, we should brace ourselves for Mueller to be sacked.’
A second scenario would be that Mueller loses all his power. Then, Whitaker could defund the investigation. The acting AG could also take Mueller’s soon-to-be-released report and never let Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) or Adam Schiff (D-CA) see it:
‘There are a number of areas where Whitaker could handcuff Mueller. Whitaker once suggested on television that the Justice Department could essentially defund the special counsel’s office, making it impossible for Mueller to continue. Another possibility is to bury Mueller’s forthcoming report, since the rules give the A.G. full power to decide what, if anything, can be done with the document…Subpoenas could be torn up and all kinds of new limitations on the extent of Mueller’s reach could be handed down, including the all-important one: Don’t mess with POTUS.’
A third option would be that Mueller simply carried on as usual. Trump might even decide to let Rosenstein keep the Russia probe:
‘Sadly, this is the least likely scenario given the politics of Trump’s newly-installed stooge at the Justice Department. But it’s possible that a number of forces could push back against the president, forcing out Whitaker and allowing Rosenstein to continue supervising the Russia probe, now presumably as acting attorney general.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.