As Democrats rode a Blue wave into a House majority on Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller now finds himself with powerful new allies on Capitol Hill.
There has been increased speculation over whether or not President Donald Trump will fire Mueller before he can conclude his investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections. Trump’s frequent attacks on the special counsel and the labeling of his investigation as a “witch hunt” has alarm bells ringing.
As the investigation enters a key phase, with court hearings and sentencing deadlines for some of Mueller’s cooperating witnesses creeping up, many observers believe Trump may try to block the release of Mueller’s findings.
Top House Democrats have insisted that they will fight any attempt to bury the findings of the Mueller investigation. A senior Democratic aide told Politico, “this is a report paid for with taxpayer dollars. So taxpayers would have the right to know what Mr. Mueller found”.
He added, “I think you could expect Democrats to take pieces of what they shut down and expose it publicly”.
Senior Democratic officials are already putting a plan of action together for a possible scenario where Trump fires the Department of Justice (DoJ) leadership and ends Mueller’s investigation. The senior aide told Politico that the Democratic leadership would summon Mueller to Capitol Hill and have him appear in nationally televised hearings, giving him the opportunity to share his findings with the country.
With a Democratic majority in the House, the next House Speaker will also be able to launch impeachment hearings against the president if he tries to silence the special counsel.
A Democratic House will also provide fuel for Mueller’s investigation. Politico reported that the Democrats plan to send dozens of interview transcripts of talks which took place between Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr to the special counsel.
Democrats also want to hold briefings with the DoJ over the allegations Trump directed Michael Cohen to misuse campaign funds to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence over an alleged affair.
Tuesday’s midterms have offered Mueller protections that could never have been extended under a Republican-controlled House.
The next few weeks will be critical to Mueller’s investigation. No doubt Trump’s allies will be looking for chinks in the Democratic armor through which they can silence Mueller. The vulnerabilities are still there and there is nothing to stop the president from firing the DoJ leadership and ending Mueller’s investigation. But now Mueller is not defenseless. He has friends in the House that will ensure he is heard, and that every scrap of evidence is made available to the American public.
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Oliver is a UK-born freelance writer and journalist based in Boston. He is a self-confessed politics junkie with a passion for foreign and environmental policy. His work has been featured on Open Democracy, International Policy Digest, and the London Economic. He was a regular contributor for ASEAN Today.