Now that Democrats have retaken the majority in the House of Representatives, they are vowing to protect Robert Mueller’s investigation and saying that in the event Trump were still to fire Mueller, they would have Mueller testify in televised hearings in order to make the elements of the investigation public. That plan may motivate Trump not to take action to fire Mueller, as he would would most probably not like the findings of the investigation so far to be made public.
President Trump reportedly already seriously considered moving to fire Mueller last year, but was convinced by his aides not to do so. While Trump could not fire Mueller directly, he could accomplish that end by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, and then replacing him with someone who would fire Mueller, or by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with someone who, unlike Sessions, would not recuse themselves from the Russia investigation and could then perhaps fire Mueller.
Democrats are of course hopeful that Trump does not attempt to fire Mueller and point out that the House Democrats, once their majority is established in the new Congress starting in January, will do a much better job than Republicans in protecting this lawful investigation until it reaches its conclusion. According to The Hill:
Senior Democratic aides told Politico that if Trump were to fire Mueller and other members of the Justice Department’s leadership in a scenario similar to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, Democrats would respond by inviting Mueller to testify before the House in a televised hearing. “I think you could expect Democrats to take pieces of what they shut down and expose it publicly,” a senior aide familiar with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-Calif.) thinking told Politico…Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who will be the new chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said on MSNBC that Democrats could protect Mueller the way Republicans would not do. “I think that the chances that Bob Mueller will be able to finish his work improved for the reason that our committee and others like the Government Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee, which under Republican leadership served as basically surrogates for the president in their efforts to batter down the Justice Department, to give the president a pretext … to fire people in the Justice Department, all of that tearing down of the independence of these institutions is going to end…”.
After speaking about Democrats’ efforts to allow the Mueller investigation to complete, Schiff also talked about the possibility that Trump would still move to get Mueller fired, saying, according to The Hill, “Now that doesn’t mean the president can’t still act in ways that are antithetical to the rule of law and the interest of justice, but it does mean that we’re better able to protect our institutions and see this investigation, I hope, complete.”
Much more oversight of President Trump and his administration will now be possible because Democrats will be the majority in the House, with subpoena powers, the power to request copies of Trump’s income tax returns, access to more documents because Democrats will now chair committees in the House, and of course greater investigative powers than they had when they were in the minority. Many feel relieved that some of the checks and balances that make a democracy a democracy have returned now that Republicans aren’t in the majority of both houses of Congress under a Republican president.