In the Giuliani Blitz, New Hints of an Attack On the Mueller Probe
Largely lost in the media whirlwind around Rudy Giuliani’s pronouncements on the hush money paid by President Trump’s lawyer to adult film star Stormy Daniels was a new round of saber-rattling directed at Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“The basis of the case is dead. [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions should step in and close it,” Giuliani told Fox News.
Of course, Trump has been calling the investigation a “WITCH HUNT” for months on Twitter and elsewhere. He repeated that again this morning, along with a suggestion that Giuliani – who was hired this week to lead Trump’s legal defense – needs more time to “get his facts straight” on the Daniels payment.
Still, Giuliani’s hiring this week to replace Ty Cobb, who had pledged to cooperate in the Mueller investigation, is among a series of signals that the president is again contemplating using his authority to fire Mueller’s immediate boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an appoint a replacement who will dismiss Mueller.
Trump acknowledged as much in a Tweet on Wednesday, Tweeting that “At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!”
Meanwhile, The Hill newspaper reports this morning that while Republican congressional leaders remain publicly supportive of the Mueller investigation, GOP congressional candidates across the country are bidding for support from Trump’s political base by attacking to the inquiry.
In Indiana, Rep. Todd Rokita, who is in a heated three-way primary for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, is running a television commercial telling GOP voters he will “fight the Mueller witch hunt” if he wins. One of Rokita’s rivals, Rep. Luke Messer, is among five GOP Senate hopefuls to sign onto a letter nominating Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize.
In Montana, Troy Downing, one of four Republicans competing for the party’s nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, is bringing in retired Gen. Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators, for a campaign event on Sunday.
The anti-Mueller rhetoric reflects what polls say is a growing hostility toward the investigation among rank-and-file Republican voters. According to a recent Quinnipiac University survey, 61 percent of Republicans say the special counsel’s probe is unfair; 82 percent say it is a “political witch hunt” and 74 percent would oppose legislation preventing Trump from firing Mueller.