Yesterday, President Trump fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, leading to immediate speculation that he is paving the way for the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump has long been deeply frustrated with Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. Add in reports that the Russia probe will soon be concluded and the results made public and it becomes clear that Trump is being backed into a corner.
Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has weighed in on the situation. According to The Washington Post McConnell says — perhaps in warning — that he doesn’t believe Trump will try to stand in the way of Mueller’s investigation.
While there is perhaps some value in having one of the most prominent leaders in the GOP voice such a sentiment, McConnell is an infamously treacherous individual who has repeatedly refused to stand in the way of some of Trump’s worst decisions.
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“The president has said on multiple occasions the Mueller investigation should be completed. He [wishes] it would happen sooner. But I don’t think there’s any chance that the Mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish,” McConnell told radio station WVLK, reports CBS News.
What McConnell fails to mention is that Trump can interfere in the investigation without scuttling it outright. Now that his lackey and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is overseeing Mueller’s efforts, one can’t rule out the possibility of direct meddling or obfuscation. Whitaker has questioned the validity of the probe in the past so one need not stretch the imagination very far to think he might take efforts to curtail Mueller’s powers.
McConnell also addressed the Sessions firing, defending it as Trump exercising his right to choose who serves as Attorney General. He also made it clear that the Republican-controlled Senate would happily confirm Trump’s new nominee.
“It’s pretty clear the president wanted to make a change and it occurred after the election. We’ll see who he sends up. But I think any president should be given a lot of latitude on picking his own team,” McConnell said.
Americans must hold McConnell to his word. If Trump makes a move to end the Mueller investigation, Republicans have a moral responsibility to oppose him. That said, their recent track record doesn’t exactly bode well for that eventuality.