As President Donald Trump continues to run the United States government into a wall, there’s one thing he can’t avoid — Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller’s team has previously indicated that they’ll keep working in the event of a lapse in government appropriations for the Justice Department like is expected to proceed this Friday night.
In November, the special counsel’s spokesperson Peter Carr asserted:
‘All employees with the Special Counsel’s Office are considered exempt and will continue their operations in the case of a lapse in appropriations.’
CNN explains that a Justice Department spokesperson added that Mueller’s team “is funded from a permanent indefinite appropriation and would be unaffected in the event of a shutdown.”
The president has certainly tried to undercut the special counsel’s office a number of times in the past, including through outlandish claims about how much it’s cost. He added $10 million to his estimate of the cost in just a matter of days — a clearly ludicrous leap.
Current acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker suggested at one point before assuming his present position that the Trump administration could exert some pressure on the special counsel’s office to close up shop through pulling funding. His clear past allegiance to Donald Trump above what he has described as Mueller’s “lynch mob” made his unorthodox choice to succeed Jeff Sessions until a more permanent replacement came on board all the more worrisome.
Sessions getting pushed out in the first place stemmed in large part from tension over Mueller’s Russia investigation. The president had long complained that Sessions recused himself from the investigation after it came out that he could reasonably be considered a subject of it thanks to his own secretive interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak while working with the Trump campaign. After Sessions recused himself, his immediate underling — deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — appointed Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — also over the “cloud” of the Russia investigation.
Throughout all of these developments, Trump has continued with his campaign to impugn the special counsel’s character, casting him as a “rogue and out of control prosecutor” who has disgraced the American government.
This all leads to it not being that far fetched to suggest that at least at one point, Trump has had in mind that shutting down the government could put an at least temporary end to the Mueller investigation. His stated reason for refusing to sign off on further appropriations has been Democrats’ refusal to support his push for a border wall separating the United States from Mexico. He’s demanded some $5 billion for the proposal after having previously long asserted Mexico would pay for it.
No matter his reasoning for refusing to sign off on further government funding, Trump certainly has good reason to worry about the Mueller investigation. Four of his former associates and counting have either faced going to prison soon or have already been there. Among the most recent developments was his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen getting sentenced to three years in prison for crimes including campaign finance law violations that the president participated in.
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