President Trump firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller is far from a new topic. If you’ve been following Trumpian politics for the last several months, Robert Mueller is an incredibly familiar name. He’s a martyr for Democrats and a convenient scourge for Republicans. Look. I like Mueller. He’s quiet and does his job quietly. What more could you ask of a man?
Trump (or rather, Attorney General Jeff Sessions) recently fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2018
POTUS apparently has no love for the intelligence community. If he were able, he’d whittle them down to nameless splinters in a field. That’s the problem with this narrative though. I can’t say that McCabe was an angel. The FBI in general? Probably many of them made their own Faustian bargains with the Constitution. Next to an aspiring strongman, they seem like saints. Mueller is an extension of them, a symbol of the law, however pure or tainted you wish him to be.
So, what about Mueller? Is he the impartial hound of justice that the Democrats need? I’d say in the post-information, post-truth age, it really doesn’t matter. If Trump unfailingly caters to his base, then truth is nestled in GOP-style authoritarianism. In the Republican world, Mueller is portrayed as the enemy, one among many, attacking the president. Let’s put it another way. An avatar for your ideology is being pursued by a force, mostly silent, but always dogged. Anyone who is attacking your avatar will be seen as the enemy, imbued with flaws limited only by your imagination. To much of the GOP, Mueller is the enemy.
McCabe, if you think about it, is a fleeting name. He’s just another symbol, part of a much longer sequence meant to either discredit Mueller or justify his firing. But the Special Counsel has persisted where others have walked away or have been fired themselves. Essentially, his fate will be shaped by the fates of others. Martyrs from the FBI, namely James Comey and Andrew McCabe, will help form the road that leads to Mueller’s destruction. Since the president is obsessed with negatively branding individuals, part of tarnishing Mueller’s name is tarring and feathering those similar to him.
What I’m getting at is that for much of his GOP base, providing a semi-logical frame of reference that can be reinforced internally is much more important than absorbing facts which might alter their views. So, for Trump, the game is much easier, at least among his base. Mueller’s ability to perform his job is made much more precarious. If Trump creates a suitable pretext to fire Mueller, or even a pretext that allows for continued criticism of the Special Counsel, then all the better for him, as the majority of the GOP supports this kind of thinking.
Another potential issue is Trump’s perception of the investigation. Rather than just playing the political landscape, he obviously perceives the probing of his finances and activities as grossly unfair, whether or not he engaged in collusion. Acting guilty doesn’t mean you are, at least of that specific crime, and struggling against the shackles of a conspiracy also looks good politically (for a Republican audience).
So let’s assume that the broad view of Trump is correct, and he chafes under negative public opinion. Okay. Fair enough. We have ample enough evidence of that. It could be his motivation for railing against Mueller is due to the shameful mantle of criminal activity he perceives on his shoulders as a result of the investigation. By that I mean, in Trump’s mind, the negative perception of millions is punishment enough. “I’ve suffered immensely, please release me from this hell on Earth.” Narcissistic injury doesn’t need to be filtered through an intelligent lens to be effective, and that’s what we’re seeing on display here.
Also, the political landscape is incredibly divisive–but that doesn’t mean it isn’t operating in Trump’s favor. Democrats have managed victories in Republican territory, namely Doug Jones from Alabama, and Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, a large portion of Democrat voters are operating under a deeply entrenched schema–traditional rules of politics. They still apply in some ways. Obviously, voter perception still matters. Yet the two examples I just referred to are what I’ve deemed as “soft Republicans.” Democrats by label, but because of their local environment, have had to adapt to their stances to be successful.
What do mushy Republicans have to do with Mueller? Good question. It’s been said before that impeachment is as much a political process as it is a legal one. If these Democratic Congressmen from crimson areas of the country believe that those who voted them in want them to be soft of Trump, then they just might. Sure, many Republicans have operated under a scaffolding of compromised principles for quite some time. Arguable to a greater degree now. That doesn’t mean in any way that Democrats that have risen to national positions of power won’t also behave in a neutered fashion.
The evidence that Mueller presents might not be enough in the current political arena. Then again, it might. There just isn’t enough evidence to have a positive outlook. With any luck, I’ll be wrong about this.
Robert Mueller fue nombrado investigador especial para el caso Trump-Rusia. Es para analizar presuntas relaciones entre la campaña presidencial y Moscú. flickr photo by rupertomiller@hotmail. 6672 6121 hijo 66852945 shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)