Monday, May 07, 2018

"Yes, Virginia, there is a legal system"

So all that babble about a federal judge in one case against Paul Manafort questioning why Mueller is bringing the charges has gotten Trump and other non-lawyers all excited.  But there is in fact a legal system in place, and if Mueller can't prosecute Manafort, someone else in the DOJ can, and will.

“There’s no evidence in the courtroom in front of him to justify that kind of an opinion,” [Andrew Napolitano] observed. “It drew enormous headlines over the weekend because it’s a political narrative with which Trump and reporters agree.”

“It is probably correct but it is irrelevant to the ruling on the matter,” he added. “The matter was Manafort moves to dismiss the indictment against him on the theory that Mueller doesn’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute me for bank fraud. The judge says, where does the jurisdiction come from? It comes from a letter authorizing it from the appointing authority, [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein.”

Napolitano pointed out that even if Ellis rules in favor of Manafort, the case will simply continue under another prosecutor.

“Legally, it’s of no significance,” Napolitano said of Ellis’ remarks. “And Judge Ellis… knows that.”

Which, to repeat, is pretty much what happens if Trump fires Mueller:  the investigation continues under a new DOJ attorney.  Period.  All of this speculation about "Will Trump fire Mueller?" and "When will Trump fire Mueller?" is just misinformed and misdirected.  Trump can't fire Mueller, and if he appoints someone who will, the investigation will carry on, with renewed cause to wonder what Trump was trying to hide by firing the special prosecutor.  It wouldn't be a "Constitutional crisis," it would be Trump cutting his own (metaphorically) throat.

Trump has no clean way out of this, except to resign.  But he won't do that, because then he couldn't try to pardon himself.

I'm kinda holding out for him to try that, honestly.


  1. I'll bet he figures he can. I'll bet one of his boot lickers has told him that. Heck, after his performances this past week, I'll bet Rudy G. tells him he can.

    I don't think Rudy's excuse is dementia, I think he just got so used to lying while he was mayor and a FOX cabloid talking head that he's almost in the same mindframe as Trump.

    1. It seems to be an NYC trait.