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Here is how Trump is laying the groundwork to fire Mueller if things get too hot for him

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While President Trump cavorts in Asia, his legal problems at home continue to mount. The indictment of three aides, his record-low poll numbers and a wave of Republican defeats in state and local elections compound the threat to his aides, his family and himself by limiting his options. When he returns November 18, he will find himself more vulnerable than ever.

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Is Trump trapped? Let’s just say the president’s defenses have a way of backfiring.

Last May, Trump fired FBI director James Comey in an effort to get rid of “this Russia thing.” The result was the appointment of special prosecutor Robert Mueller who indicted former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates. According to NBC News, Mueller has also amassed enough evidence to charge Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.

Trump claimed allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia were “fake news.” Then came the indictment of George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy aide who says he spoke to a Russian about getting “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who has boasted having “one of the greatest memories of all time,” said he couldn’t “recall much” about a 2016 meeting in which he appeared in a photograph with Papadopoulos.

Now Trump has a new defense, offered by surrogates in Congress and Fox News.

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‘Risk of a Coup’

“We are at risk of a coup d’état in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly elected president of the United States,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said in a Capitol Hill speech Wednesday, according to The Hill. “That is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mr. Mueller and others at the Department of Justice.”

Along with Congressmen Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), Gaetz co-sponsored a resolution last week that questions Mueller’s neutrality. Capitol Hill Republicans claim the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation is compromised because Mueller was the head of the FBI when the Obama administration approved the sale of the Uranium One mining firm to the Russian atomic energy agency.

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The Uranium One story, it must be said, has replaced “Benghazi” as the conservative conspiracy theory du jour for a good reason: The Uranium One story does have the whiff of Clintonian corruption.

People associated with Uranium One donated an astonishing $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, mostly before and during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, according to the Washington PostIn addition, Bill Clinton received $500,000 from a Russian bank to give a speech at a conference in Moscow in 2011.

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What the Uranium One story doesn’t have is any evidence of wrongdoing or bias or conflict of interest by Robert Mueller. The Treasury Department was the lead agency that headed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which approved the investment, according to CNN.

There is no evidence that the Uranium One sale violated any laws or harmed the United States.

Game Plan

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Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has been urging Trump to take the fight to Mueller, and the Uranium One story appears to be the chosen presidential cudgel.

Over the summer, Trump talked about firing Mueller and was talking out of it by aides who feared a political firestorm. The Uranium One story, suddenly revived by Sean Hannity and other right-wing talking heads in the days before Manafort’s indictment, creates a pretext that was lacking before.

Firing Mueller, however, is unlikely to solve Trump’s problem any more than “fake news” allegations or Comey’s dismissal did.

The prosecution of Manafort and Gates (and possibly Flynn) will proceed, unless Trump pardons them, which he has talked about doing. A combination of firing Mueller and pardoning the defendants will invite Senate legislation, already introduced, to reinstate Mueller. It would also likely provoke a legal challenge from constitutional lawyers arguing that the president cannot use his pardoning power to obstruct justice.

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And even the dismissal of Mueller with pardons would not solve Trump’s problem. The special prosecutor is already coordinating his investigation of Manafort with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Trump entourage may also face charges in New York state court. The president cannot fire a state official or issue pardons to people accused or convicted of state crimes.

Accusing Mueller of a “coup” and firing him might rally Trump’s loyal though shrinking base, but it would alienate and demoralize congressional Republicans he needs to pass a tax cut. Those Republicans are already worried about Tuesday’s election results and fear a “blue wave” is coming in the 2018 midterm elections.

Firing Mueller would encourage and energize Democrats, such as Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), to pursue a bill of impeachment against Trump. “He would be impeached the next day,” said one former federal prosecutor.

Green wants to force a vote by Christmas, and Trump just might give him his Christmas wish. With jail time looming for his family and friends, Trump may prefer to invite impeachment proceedings rather than let the law take its course.


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‘Possibly the craziest and scariest thing he has done’: Conservative blasts Trump for DNI Richard Grenell

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Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted President Donald Trump's new appointee Richard Grenell to take over as acting director of national intelligence.

Previously, Trump was furious at his acting DNI when he learned that Democrats were given an intelligence briefing. The source speaking to the Post said that Trump gave Maguire a “dressing down” that left the former acting DNI “despondent.”

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FBI investigating Erik Prince for arms trafficking after attempt to modify crop dusters into attack aircraft: report

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly investigating prominent Donald Trump supporter Erik Prince for violating arms trafficking laws.

"Prince, an heir to a billion-dollar fortune who is widely viewed as a shadow adviser to the president, is under federal investigation for his 2015 attempt to modify two American-made crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft — a violation of arms trafficking regulations," The Intercept reported Thursday, citing "two people familiar with the investigation."

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‘This is not how words work’: Trump trashed after ranting that Roger Stone will be ‘exonerated’

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President Donald Trump went off on a strange rant after the sentence was handed down in the Roger Stone case.

Trump was supposed to be speaking about his new system of pardons which would pass down recommendations, but instead, he wanted to talk about those he felt should be prosecuted instead of Stone.

"But it happened to Roger Stone, and it happened to Gen. Flynn. and it happened to -- I won't name names," Trump continued during his Hope for Prisoners commencement address. "I know Roger but a lot of people know Roger. Everybody sort of knows Roger. And what happened to him is unbelievable. They say he lied. But other people lied, too. Just to mention [James] Comey lied. [Andrew] McCabe lied. Lisa Page lied. Her lover Strzok, Peter Strzok, lied. You don't know who these people are? Trust me. They all lied."

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