Former CIA director advocates Executive Branch coup if Trump fires Mueller

Former CIA director John Brennan says Executive Branch employees should refuse to carry out the president's directives if he orders the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Hill:

"First of all, I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that are again inconsistent with what this country is all about," Brennan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum.

"I would just hope this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans and Democrats are going to see that the future of this country is at stake, and there needs to be some things done for the good of the future," he continued.

Brennan's comments come as tension between President Trump and Mueller, who was appointed to lead the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, has mounted in recent days.

Trump warned Mueller in a New York Times interview on Wednesday not to look into his past business transactions, however Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Mueller was already delving into Trump's financial ties.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump's legal team was exploring ways to use what they say are Mueller's conflicts of interests to benefit the president in the investigation.

I have no doubt that there are some in the Justice Department who would, indeed, refuse to carry out any presidential order to fire Mueller – despite the fact that Trump has the power and the right to do so.  But Democrats are eager to replay the scenes and vignettes from their greatest triumph of the 20th century – no, not getting FDR elected four times, but overturning the results of the 1972 election and forcing the resignation of Richard Nixon.  And one of those scenes in the Democratic Watergate mythos is the "Saturday Night Massacre," where several Justice Department officials refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

That situation was more dicey.  Cox was appointed by Congress, and it was questionable whether Nixon had the authority to fire him.  In Mueller's case, he is an appointee of the Justice Department and serves at the pleasure of the president, just like any other Executive Branch employee.

Sure it would be bad optics if Trump fired Mueller.  But the end of the American republic?  Please.

No matter.  Dems would get hysterical.  The press would get hysterical.  Some Republicans would get hysterical because they want to please the Times and the Post and MSNBC and CNN and don't want the media being mean to them.  In the end, the impeachment bandwagon would begin to roll, and Trump doesn't have the base in Congress to resist it.

So Brennan is probably right, but his reasoning is specious.  The "future of the country" is certainly not at stake, although the future of the Trump presidency is.  That's a big difference, and if Brennan can't see that, he's as infected with anti-Trump hysteria as bad as anyone.

Former CIA director John Brennan says Executive Branch employees should refuse to carry out the president's directives if he orders the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Hill:

"First of all, I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that are again inconsistent with what this country is all about," Brennan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum.

"I would just hope this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans and Democrats are going to see that the future of this country is at stake, and there needs to be some things done for the good of the future," he continued.

Brennan's comments come as tension between President Trump and Mueller, who was appointed to lead the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, has mounted in recent days.

Trump warned Mueller in a New York Times interview on Wednesday not to look into his past business transactions, however Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Mueller was already delving into Trump's financial ties.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump's legal team was exploring ways to use what they say are Mueller's conflicts of interests to benefit the president in the investigation.

I have no doubt that there are some in the Justice Department who would, indeed, refuse to carry out any presidential order to fire Mueller – despite the fact that Trump has the power and the right to do so.  But Democrats are eager to replay the scenes and vignettes from their greatest triumph of the 20th century – no, not getting FDR elected four times, but overturning the results of the 1972 election and forcing the resignation of Richard Nixon.  And one of those scenes in the Democratic Watergate mythos is the "Saturday Night Massacre," where several Justice Department officials refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

That situation was more dicey.  Cox was appointed by Congress, and it was questionable whether Nixon had the authority to fire him.  In Mueller's case, he is an appointee of the Justice Department and serves at the pleasure of the president, just like any other Executive Branch employee.

Sure it would be bad optics if Trump fired Mueller.  But the end of the American republic?  Please.

No matter.  Dems would get hysterical.  The press would get hysterical.  Some Republicans would get hysterical because they want to please the Times and the Post and MSNBC and CNN and don't want the media being mean to them.  In the end, the impeachment bandwagon would begin to roll, and Trump doesn't have the base in Congress to resist it.

So Brennan is probably right, but his reasoning is specious.  The "future of the country" is certainly not at stake, although the future of the Trump presidency is.  That's a big difference, and if Brennan can't see that, he's as infected with anti-Trump hysteria as bad as anyone.

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