Republicans on House Judiciary Committee taking a dangerous path
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. | AP

In an ominous development today, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are joining what amounts to a dangerous right-wing conspiracy to subvert democracy in America. They are hammering Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, trying to force him into quashing the investigation of Donald Trump’s crimes by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Rosenstein is their target because Attorney General Jeff Sessions, knee-deep himself in the muck of Trump’s mess, was forced to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probes.

The immediate aim of Trump’s GOP supporters on the committee is to create and stir up controversy and chaos around what has been a precise, thorough, and efficient Mueller investigation so far. Already Mueller has brought charges against four of Donald Trump’s closest associates, with two of them pleading guilty to crimes.

If the Republicans on the committee can stir up enough chaos and doubt in the minds of the public, they hope that the controversy they create will provide cover for the president to move against Mueller.

In order to create this chaos, they will stop at nothing. Already Matt Gaetz, one member of the committee and a Republican representative form Florida, is flinging around outrageous claims that Mueller is leading a “coup d’etat” against the elected president of the United States. (What better cover than that? The president really has to fire Mueller because he is a threat to our democratically elected government!)

The right-wing conspiracy is also being fed by other GOP lawmakers who claim that the FBI is nothing more than a KGB-style outfit full of door-busting agents who are totally biased against Trump. (How dare they bust into Paul Manafort’s home? Money laundering a couple hundred million here or there, what’s the big deal?)

Then there are calls, picked up now even by so-called GOP “moderates” like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, for opening new investigations of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the same demand Trump himself has been making for months.

Another part of the conspiracy is reflected in the daily calls by Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and Fox News for the immediate ousting of Robert Mueller.

Not to be left out, we have Trump adviser and Fox anchorman Sean Hannity also fretting daily about an impending coup against the president and the “vicious” FBI, busting into homes the way they do.

On Dec. 4, even the “respectable” Wall Street Journal joined the cabal with an editorial calling upon Robert Mueller to resign.

Then there are yet still other lawmakers, “reasonable” ones, who are expressing concern about the alleged high cost of the investigation to taxpayers. (The $3 million price tag is apparently unbearable, but the $4 trillion taxpayers will have to fork up to give the rich the tax break that the GOP supported—well, let’s not talk about that!)

Judge Jeanine Pirro, another right-wing Fox pundit, joined the conspiracy long ago, but recently she actually went to the White House and urged Trump to fire Mueller.

All of it, the entire orchestra involving lawmakers, right-wing media and “respectable” outfits like the Wall Street Journal, is aimed at providing an opening for Trump, now that he’s been cornered, to shut down Mueller.

The dangerous reality is that Trump has more options open to him than just firing Mueller. He can move to eliminate the Office of Special Counsel altogether, or at minimum move to reduce or eliminate funding for it.

He can pardon some of those already indicted or consider pardons for others about to be indicted.

The only thing holding him back is the fear that the constitutional crisis such moves would create might force some Republicans to finally call for his impeachment.

But the danger of constitutional crisis is real. The desperate criminal, when trapped, can strike out. The plea deal Mueller made with Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, exposes not only those closest to Trump, but also the president himself.

The coordinated conspiracy now underway to discredit Mueller can have only one purpose: Create the conditions necessary to make radical and undemocratic action by Trump more acceptable to the American people than it would otherwise be. It is classic fascist methodology. It’s been seen before: Nazis burn down the Reichstag so that the people will accept the arsonists themselves as the peacemakers who will prevent future fires.

A vigilant people, however, can turn this around.

Everyone should contact their congressional representatives and senators and demand, “Hands off Mueller and his investigation!” The Special Counsel’s probe must be allowed to continue to its full conclusion. Tell them to also continue pursuing their investigations unimpeded.

When the results are in and the findings indicate what most reasonable people already believe they will, the Congress must do its duty. The House will have to impeach, and the Senate will have to put the perpetrator on trial. The most important results of that process will be a defeat for corruption and tyranny and a victory for democracy.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.