Paul Manafort was taken into custody today as the first indictment in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections. Manafort isn’t a “big fish” in Washington DC anymore, but last year he ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort is charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent and with laundering the millions of dollars he made from that work.
But Manafort is probably not the final target of the Mueller investigation. His indictment is the first step in a federal encirclement of the criminal organizations he works with. If those organizations include the President and his family, that makes Mueller’s position at the top of the investigation a precarious one.
Mueller is a Special Counsel which means that he “reports to the Attorney General who, in turn, reports to the President. Technically this means the President has the legal authority to fire the Special Counsel — the person who’s investigating him.” This is pretty much what Richard Nixon did during the Watergate investigation — a series of firings and resignations that journalists termed “the saturday night massacre.”
Like Nixon, Trump could move on Mueller in an attempt to derail the investigation. But while it is within the President’s power to fire a Special Counsel, Congress can give him cover.
The Special Counsel Integrity Acts (plural)
Both houses of Congress presently have identical bills before them entitled the Special Counsel Integrity Act (H.R 3771 and S. 1741). The bills would allow Mueller, in the event of his firing, to appear to a court of three judges within fourteen days. If the firing is found to be inappropriate, Mueller would be automatically reinstated to his position. In essence, it takes away President Trump’s ability to unilaterally fire a Special Counsel.
Tell Congress what you think!
By the time it becomes clear that President Trump is going to fire Mueller it will be too late to protect him and his investigation. Text RESIST to 50409 to tell your representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress or use Facebook messenger to do the same thing by clicking here.