A group of “Never Trump” conservatives are pushing Congress to take potentially unconstitutional steps to preempt any possible actions Trump may take against FBI special counsel Robert Mueller.
The group includes Evan McMullin, the losing independent candidate for president in 2016, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Mediaite columnist John Ziegler, and former Congressmen Bob Inglis and David Jolly, of South Carolina and Florida, respectively. According to The Washington Post, the group has been meeting every two weeks since the November election and calls itself the “Meeting of the Concerned.”
What are the members concerned about? Perceived “threats to the integrity of American democracy and the rule of law,” brought on by the Trump-Russia collusion allegations, and fears Trump may unjustifiably end Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election.
On Wednesday,the Post released the group’s first public statement, which called on members of Congress to support Mueller and his investigation.
“We hereby call on House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to make clear, both publicly and privately, that they support the Mueller investigation and regard any interference with that investigation, including dismissal of the special counsel or preemptive pardons of investigation targets, as completely unacceptable,” the statement reads.
“We further urge all Republican members of Congress to issue public statements on these issues as well.”
The so-called “Meeting of the Concerned” are worried that Trump may fall prey to conservative media demands to fire Mueller, possibly leading to a constitutional crisis.
“The infotainment side of the conservative media, they’ve been completely Trumpified for some time,” said columnist Mona Charen, one of those “concerned.” “The Wall Street Journal was another story. That was surprising to me. I didn’t regard them as part of the Trump right. When they wrote an editorial suggesting that Mueller resign, I felt that needed a response.”
Jerry Taylor, a co-founder of the libertarian Niskanen Center think tank, suggested that a failure by Republicans to protect Mueller would be make the GOP “the party of treason.”
“Some of us feel that impeachable offenses have already been committed, and some of us are not sure,” Taylor said. “It seems to be unanimous on Mueller, but there’s always some hazard in identifying yourself as part of the Republican resistance.”
The resistance is futile, and the group’s concern is overblown. There is no evidence of an impeachable offense thus far by President Trump. Further, were Trump to fire Mueller, he would be entirely within his constitutional authority to do so. A political crisis may follow Mueller’s termination, and it would be a bad look for the president, but the fears of a “constitutional crisis” are greatly exaggerated.
On the other hand, taking legislative action against Trump to prevent him from exercising his Article II executive authority over an executive branch appointee like Mueller looks like serious overreach by Congress.
For all their talk of supporting the “rule of law,” these “concerned” conservatives are silent on fundamental issues, like when rogue federal courts repeatedly overstep their bounds to issue lawless decisions.
Instead of wasting their time trying to obstruct the constitutional authority of the president, it would be far better to urge Congress to do something constitutional and effectual, like restricting the power of federal courts.
Where is the concern for the real constitutional crisis?
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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