Donald Trump has said publicly that he has no plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but if he does move to sack the man in charge of the Russian investigation, it appears likely to trigger what could be the biggest protest in American history.
Trump has openly and frequently criticized the investigation into whether his campaign improperly colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race, calling it a witch hunt and vowing that he did nothing improper or illegal. But there have been reports from some close to the White House that Trump may be exploring ways to fire Mueller and bring the investigation to an end before it can do more damage to him politically.
Last week, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier said there was a “rumor” going around Capitol Hill that Trump planned for fire Robert Mueller on Friday, December 22, just before the Christmas holiday. As the Hill noted, Speier claimed that Trump was trying to shut down the separate House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference, noting that Republicans in charge of the committee have scheduled no new witnesses.
It would take a complicated process for Donald Trump to fire Robert Mueller. Because Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, it must be Rosenstein who fires Mueller. That would mean Trump has to first fire Rosenstein and call on Rosenstein’s successor to fire Muller instead (Rosenstein has said publicly that he is satisfied with the job Mueller is doing and has no plans to fire him).
If Trump were to start that process, a number of groups stand ready to protest. The left-leaning organization MoveOn.org has already put plans in place for protests to begin as soon as Trump moves to fire Robert Mueller, and the Hill reported that there are already 100,000 people signed on to protest.
But there are other measures planned beyond this group. The site TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org has a list of all the protests planned if Trump were to fire Mueller, with dozens of cities already planning events. By numbers alone, it appears to be on track to be the largest single protest in American history, larger than the roughly 1 million who showed up to protest nuclear weapons in New York’s Central Park in 1982.
There are already some high-profile political figures calling for protests if Donald Trump were to fire Robert Mueller. Last week, former Attorney General Eric Holder called for a “mass, popular, peaceful” demonstration if Trump were to try to bring an end to the Russia investigation.