[Ed. – For a president lacking any political experience, Trump would be wandering into a constitutional labyrinth of inconceivable complexity.]
President Donald Trump’s interview with the New York Times on Wednesday has stirred speculation he may consider firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller for investigating Trump’s business dealings as part of the Russia probe.
But Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, according to the law that authorizes Mueller’s probe. If he tried, he could set off a chain-reaction that would throw the Justice Department into upheaval.
Only the person acting as attorney general, currently Rod Rosenstein on matters related to the probe, can fire Mueller, and he’s said he won’t do it without “good cause.” So Trump would first have to purge the upper ranks of the Justice Department until he finds someone willing to follow his orders and dismiss the special counsel.
He’d almost certainly begin by dismissing Rosenstein, whose political loyalties Trump questioned in the Times interview on Wednesday. … Trump does possess authority to fire Rosenstein for any reason, including refusal to remove Mueller from the post. If Trump did so, the decision would then fall to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the third-ranking official in the Justice Department.