Mueller: Trump’s worst nightmare?
When President Trump returns to the White House from his foreign trip, he’ll be sleeping “with a new enemy outside his window,” said Leon Nayfakh in Slate.com. That’ll be former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller’s appointment came a week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and days after it emerged Comey had written a February memo claiming Trump asked him to halt the bureau’s investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn. Mueller, 72, is the perfect candidate to restore confidence in the Russia investigation, said Elias Groll in ForeignPolicy.com. “A classic G-man,” the decorated former Marine is “meticulous, details-oriented, and hard-charging.” Mueller is also known for his “independent streak,” famously blocking the Bush administration’s attempts to renew a controversial surveillance policy. “Robert Mueller could be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”
Mueller’s appointment is bad news for Trump and bad news for the country, said Byron York in WashingtonExaminer.com. A special counsel will only “roil and extend” a 10-month investigation that has so far failed to produce any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In fact, Mueller’s investigation is likely to overshadow “the entire duration of the Trump presidency.” Actually, “Republicans should rejoice” over Mueller’s appointment, said Erick Erickson in FoxNews.com. He’s a nonpartisan, “consummate professional,” and if there was no collusion with Russia, then Mueller will say so. Putting the investigation in his hands also gives Trump “some breathing room between scandals.” For the next several months, “the White House can say they cannot discuss the matter because of the Mueller investigation.”
Mueller’s bipartisan credibility is a double-edged sword, said Chris Cillizza in CNN.com. If he finds no evidence of collusion or crimes, the country is likely to accept that conclusion as “unbiased, fair, and factual.” But if he does, it will be “damn near impossible” for this administration to pretend it was a partisan smear. That means “Republicans—from Trump on down— will now live or die by what Mueller finds out.” It’s always possible a panicked Trump could decide to fire Mueller just as he fired Comey, said The New York Times in an editorial. But the last president to fire a special prosecutor was Richard Nixon—and we know what happened to him. ■