Republicans Won't Stop an Increasingly Dangerous Trump, Even If He Decides to Fire Mueller
President Donald Trump is doing his best to send the message that he may fire special counsel Robert Mueller soon, and Republicans are doing almost nothing about it.
On Monday, he tweeted, "A total witch hunt with massive conflicts of interest!" He was referring to the special counsel's investigation—Mueller can only be fired for a limited set of reasons, and conflict of interest is one of them.
Trump sent other tweets over the weekend criticizing the probe and then hired a conspiracy theorist lawyer who thinks the Department of Justice is framing the president.
The White House continues to officially deny that Trump is considering firing Mueller.
Despite the fact that there is already a bill in Congress that could help to protect Mueller's position, Republicans are insisting that there's no rush. Trump would likely veto the legislation, but Congress could override the veto. So what's the problem?
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) previously said firing Mueller would be "the beginning of the end" of Trump's presidency. These are strong words, but Graham is the same person who called Trump a "kook" and then later criticized the media for portraying the president as a "kook."
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) had been a vocal Trump critic and had raised worries about the president's threats. Yet he has failed to stand up to the president on every substantial matter since election day, never once using his leverage as a senator to attain any important concessions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says we should "Let Mueller do his job." But if he really thought this was important, he could bring a bill to protect Mueller to a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been silent about Trump's attacks on the special counsel.
Trump's recent behavior demonstrates that he is growing bolder. Trump accepted a meeting with North Korea with essentially no planning and fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which Trump had denied he would do. Trump may also fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who along with Tillerson, was widely considered to be one of the few "adults in the room" to curb Trump's worst tendencies.
After Trump called the GOP's bluff, Ryan denounced the policy but did nothing to stop it, even though Congress holds the constitutional right to control tariffs.
Trump is learning that there's a lot he can do if he acts brashly and doesn't worry about the consequences. And the Republicans are learning helplessness.