More Likely Than Ever That Trump Will Fire Mueller and Use Presidential Pardons

by Bob Schwartz

Trump is finding it hard to enlist first-class legal talent to represent him. Some like John Dowd have resigned. There are daily reports now of expert lawyers refusing to join the legal team, something likely to continue indefinitely.

In his business life, Trump was able to get by with lawyers of moderate skill whose main attributes were toughness, meanness and loyalty. Trump loved instigating legal messes, and when threats of litigation didn’t work, he settled on settlements. Or, in some cases when matters actually went to trial, he just plain lost.

Even before the Mueller investigation is completed, the legal troubles are mounting. The tough, mean, threatening, loyal lawyers are not going to be enough. But he currently doesn’t have the caliber of lawyers who can extricate him, and he may never have them.

Which is why he may simply try to move the conflicts from legal battlefields to political ones. In law, he is just another unindicted co-conspirator or defendant. In politics, he is President of the United States.

The simplest way to move the battlefield is to exercise two powers he already has.

First, he has the power to cause Robert Mueller to be dismissed as Special Counsel. It could be a bit messy, as it was in Watergate’s Saturday Night Massacre. He could start by asking Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller. If Rosenstein refused, he would then go down the line within the Justice Department until he found someone to do his bidding. Or on another track, Attorney General Jeff Sessions could resign/be fired, with a replacement AG who had not recused himself as Sessions had, and that replacement would fire Mueller. Any way it is accomplished, the consequence would be political, not legal. With his lifelong success as a politician (okay, only one election), Trump believes he will not lose that political fight.

Second, Trump has the power to protect anybody from federal criminal indictments or convictions, including himself, with presidential pardons. I have been saying for months the he is likely to do this (Trump Will Pardon Everybody (or Almost Everybody)) , and in recent weeks it has been the buzz around some conservative circles. Now it appears that Trump simply doesn’t have the legal army to fight on the law. So he is just going to have to blow away the law with his big pardon gun.