Trump never mentioned Mueller on Twitter once until this weekend

He's acting like a man backed into a corner.

CREDIT: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
CREDIT: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump is not known for self-restraint, especially when he’s logged onto Twitter. Yet, despite his lack of discipline — and despite being investigated in a federal probe into Russia’s election meddling — the president did not tweet about Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller for the first 10 months of the investigation.

That streak ended Saturday, when Trump sent the first of two tweets attacking Mueller by name.

Both tweets are riddled with factual errors. For one thing, Robert Mueller is himself a Republican who was initially appointed to lead the FBI by President George W. Bush. For another, the consensus view within America’s intelligence community is that Russia interfered with the 2016 election because it hoped to make Donald Trump president.

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In any event, however, Trump’s decision to attack Mueller by name on Twitter suggests one of two things — either the president is no longer following his legal team’s advice, or that team is now advising him to take a much more aggressive posture against Mueller.

As the New York Times notes, Trump’s anti-Mueller tweets were “notable because for the most part, Mr. Trump has heeded the advice of his lawyers not to target Mr. Mueller’s team directly.”

On Saturday, however, Trump attorney John Dowd told The Daily Beast that he prays “that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

Together, these statements suggest that Trump and his lawyers may have agreed to make statements seeking to de-legitimize the Mueller investigation. They also raise the possibility that Trump may use the powers of the presidency — including the power to start firing Justice Department officials until the top remaining official agrees to fire Mueller — in order to cut short the Russia investigation.

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Should that happen, Trump could trigger a legal battle over whether the special counsel was properly fired. Under DOJ’s existing regulations, Mueller can only be fired “for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”