Monday, October 30, 2017


Matt Yglesias believes President Trump will fire Robert Mueller soon, and he holds out little hope that Republicans in Congress will do anything in response.
... if he fires Mueller, most of them will react by trying to lay low until the storm passes, plugging away at tax cuts and deregulation before working together hand in hand to try to win in 2018 and stave off the Democratic House majority that could bring real accountability and oversight to the table.
But he thinks a handful of Republicans have the power to prevent Mueller's firing.
Sens. Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and John McCain have all voiced clear concerns about the impact of the Trump administration on the long-term health of American democracy. Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who unlike those three are planning to run for reelection, have both shown clear comfort outlining political personae that are distinct from the national party. Sen. Lindsey Graham really fits neither of those buckets, but earlier personally averred that firing Mueller would be a disaster.

Three or five or six senators isn’t a lot.

But it is enough to take a stand and forestall disaster.
Really? How?
... if three or four Republican senators were to say loudly and clearly that firing Mueller would induce them to hold up significant aspects of the GOP legislative agenda until the investigation can be restored, that would make all the difference in the world. Critically, it’s important to say that before Trump actually fires Mueller. If statements come while Mueller is still in his job, that gives the business community, the GOP leadership, and other critical actors reason to lean on Trump to not fire Mueller — since firing Mueller would throw a wrench in the works of the legislative agenda.
But Republicans are refusing to stand up to Trump precisely because they want his signature on bills advancing the GOP agenda. They like the agenda a lot more than they like Trump. If they threaten the agenda, it's not going to be seen as a principled stand against an unfit president. It's going to be seen as a stand against the agenda. Trump cultists will hate them for defying Trump. Everyone else in the GOP orbit, particularly the business community, will hate them for holding up the tax cuts.

Moreover, once the GOP threw in its lot with Trump and he went on to govern in defiance of many laws and norms, Republicans needed a significant percentage of the public to believe that, despite the harsh criticism to which he's subjected, Trump is really fit to serve. Even the most dissatisfied Never Trump Republicans, Flake and Corker, won't go so far as to say that Trump is creating a constitutional crisis. They're still Republicans. They don't want to damage the Republican brand. They know their party has too much invested in him. They believe that if he goes down, the party will go down with him.

Yglesias is right to say that Republicans will do nothing in response to Mueller's dismissal. He's silly to float an unimaginable alternate scenario.

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