The New York Times published a striking report several years ago about Donald Trump ordering the firing of Robert Mueller — during the special counsel’s investigation into the then-president’s Russia scandal. The Republican backed down, the article added, after the White House counsel threatened to resign.
After the Times’ front-page piece ran, Trump sent a message to then-White House counsel Don McGahn, urging the lawyer to put out a statement denying the accuracy of the article. As the special counsel’s report later explained, McGahn refused — because he knew that Trump really did try to fire Mueller.
The revelations alerted the public to just how far the former president was willing to go to protect himself, but they also helped paint a picture: When Trump is worried about an investigation, one of his first instincts is to try to get rid of the investigator.
It was against this backdrop that the Republican published this missive yesterday to his social media platform:
“District Attorney Bragg is a danger to our Country, and should be removed immediately, along with Radical Lunatic Bombthrower Jack Smith, who is harassing and intimidating innocent people at levels not seen before, “Get Trump” Letitia James, the worst Attorney General in the United States, and Atlanta D.A. Fani Willis, who is trying to make PERFECT phone calls into a plot to destroy America, but reigns over the most violent Crime Scene in America, and does nothing about it!”
There’s no point in investing a considerable amount of time fact-checking such a tirade. Suffice to say, the screed included no accurate accusations. (Calling the special counsel a “radical lunatic” is, however, at least new.)
But the content was part of the larger pattern: Trump is a private citizen, so he’s not in a position to try to fire Bragg, Smith, James, and Willis, the way he tried to fire Mueller, but his instinct is the same: The prosecutors “should be removed” from office “immediately,” not because there’s evidence of wrongdoing, but because they pose a threat to the former president.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, Trump’s acolytes also aren’t in a position to “remove” prosecutors scrutinizing the former president’s alleged wrongdoing, but as NBC News reported, they are interested in taking a look at how Congress funds law enforcement.
“Your decision to pursue such a politically motivated prosecution ... requires congressional scrutiny about how public safety funds appropriated by Congress are implemented by local law-enforcement agencies,” three Republican committee chairs wrote in a letter to the Manhattan district attorney this week.
As my MSNBC colleague Ja’han Jones concluded in a recent piece, “All of this tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s pro-Trump protection racket. When they don’t like how the game is going, they attack the referees.”