Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt this week about the prospect of President Donald Trump’s firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. From his perspective, it would trigger a constitutional crisis and rise to an impeachable offense.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) March 20, 2018
Hewitt asked the Palmetto State’s senior Senator if firing Mueller would be an impeachable offense, to which Graham replied, “probably so, if he did it without cause, yeah.”
I think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation in[to] whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose…to stop investigation without cause, I think, would be a constitutional crisis.
It's intriguing that Lindsey Graham is less shy about the specter of impeachment than most Democratic caucus members.
Here's what @SenAngusKing told Hewitt when asked if he'd consider firing Mueller to be impeachable: "No. I would consider it a crisis."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 20, 2018
Under the Department of Justice Special Counsel Regulations, special prosecutors can be terminated “only by the personal action of the Attorney General and only for good cause,” or physical or mental impairments. It explained that “[i]n addition to the affirmative grant of independence, the other critical hallmark of independence, indeed the guardian of it, is the freedom from removal, absent good cause.”
This helps, but the biggest danger is that the the fire Mueller needs if he’s to burn through Trump’s firewall of deception and treachery will be slowly deprived of oxygen by an overseer other than Rosenstein — one more loyal to Trump than to the truth. https://t.co/GinlbWbz4j
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 22, 2018
The president also lacks the authority to fire Mueller directly, though he could fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appoint a new AG during a Senate recess, and have Mueller dismissed by the new AG.
Or he could order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to do the deed, although Rosenstein has said he sees no justification for firing the Special Counsel (Trump could then presumably continue down the ladder at the Justice Department until someone agrees to do it).