Fears are on the rise that Donald Trump could fire Robert Mueller after the president launched into an attack on the Special Counsel just hours after reports that the FBI raided the home and offices of Trump’s personal lawyer.
On Monday afternoon, FBI agents raided the law offices and personal residence of Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. As the New York Times reported, agents seized documents, business records, and emails related to a number of topics, including Cohen’s payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. There have been allegations that Cohen’s payment to Daniels constitutes an illegal campaign contribution to Donald Trump, and there have been some curious coincidences related to the $130,000 payment — including Trump’s own company billing his campaign a series of payments that added up to $129,999.72 in the five days after the payment was posted.
In the wake of the FBI raid, Donald Trump immediately took aim at Robert Mueller. Reports indicated that Cohen’s FBI raid was not connected to the Russia investigation, but that Mueller referred evidence to the FBI.
“It’s a disgraceful situation,” Trump said in statements to reporters (via the New York Post).
“I have this witch hunt constantly going on,” Trump added. “It’s an attack on our country … what we all stand for.”
The tone of Trump’s comments had many people worried that he may be preparing to fire Robert Mueller, drawing warnings from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that he could face sharp consequences if he tried.
If @realDonaldTrump is thinking of using the FBI raid to fire Special Counsel Mueller or otherwise interfere with the chain of command in the Russia probe, we Democrats have one simple message for him: don’t.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 9, 2018
If @realDonaldTrump fires or constrains Mueller, he must be impeached and removed from office.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) April 9, 2018
There have already been some rumors that Donald Trump is planning to fire Robert Mueller. Scott Dworkin, a Democratic strategist, fundraiser, and frequent guest on MSNBC, reported earlier this month that White House sources say Trump already has a plan in place for how he will fire Mueller but has not yet decided when he will do it.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 10, 2018
Trump has grown increasingly critical of Mueller. After initially saying he welcomed the investigation and hoped it would conclude quickly, Trump has since expressed agitation as Mueller’s investigation led to indictments against members of Trump’s inner circle including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump attacked Mueller by name in a tweet last month.
Trump could not directly fire Mueller and would have to first fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has publicly supported Mueller and replace him with someone who would then fire Mueller. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any matters related to Russia after it was revealed that he was not honest about his contact with Russian officials during Trump’s campaign.
Despite the worries that Donald Trump may fire Robert Mueller, the president has not commented directly on his plans or if he might be considering firing Mueller.