At least one Democrat is warning that Donald Trump will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and that Republicans will attempt to end the House investigation against Trump at the end of next week after Congress leaves for the holidays.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Friday that "rumors" on Capitol Hill suggest President Trump could fire special counsel Robert Mueller before Christmas, after Congress leaves Washington for the winter recess.
“The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller," Speier told California's KQED News.
Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Trump was trying to shut down the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, pointing to the lack of interviews scheduled for the new year.
The New York Times reported Friday that the committee is scheduling its final witnesses of the year to testify in New York, despite important votes coming up in Washington, D.C., and confirmed no additional witnesses are scheduled yet in 2018.
"We can read between the lines I think," Speier said. "I believe this president wants all of this shut down. He wants to shut down these investigations, and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller."
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), also said Friday that he is worried that Republicans leading the committee are seeking to shut down the committee's investigation by the end of the year.
"Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017 [sic]. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on," he tweeted Friday.
The Department of Justice has repeatedly said that Mueller would not be fired short of misconduct but Trump backers have been setting the table for weeks attacking Mueller's credibility, and now a majority of Americans believe Mueller has a conflict of interest. Trump will reportedly make his move after FOX News reported exactly such "misconduct" this weekend.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained “many tens of thousands" of Trump transition emails, including emails of Jared Kushner, transition team sources tell Axios.
Trump officials discovered Mueller had the emails when his prosecutors used them as the basis for questions to witnesses, the sources said.
The emails include 12 accounts, one of which contains about 7,000 emails, the sources said.
The accounts include the team's political leadership and the foreign-policy team, the sources said.
Why it matters: The transition emails are said to include sensitive exchanges on matters that include potential appointments, gossip about the views of particular senators involved in the confirmation process, speculation about vulnerabilities of Trump nominees, strategizing about press statements, and policy planning on everything from war to taxes.
“Mueller is using the emails to confirm things, and get new leads," a transition source told me.
How it happened: The sources say Mueller obtained the emails from the General Services Administration, the government agency that hosted the transition email system, which had addresses ending in “ptt.gov," for Presidential Transition Team.
Taking fight public: Charging "unlawful conduct," Kory Langhofer, counsel for the transition team, wrote in a letter to congressional committees Saturday that "career staff at the General Services Administration ... have unlawfully produced [transition team] private materials, including privileged communications, to the Special Counsel's Office."
In other words, the White House is officially saying that Mueller got these emails illegally, that the emails weren't germane to the investigation, that went too far to get them, that the emails were either leaked to him or stolen, and as a result the entire investigation is a fraud.
No doubt Trump will use this as his justification to fire Mueller next weekend, waiting for Congress to recess for the year so there's no opposition from Democrats.
The stage is now set as the right-wing noise machine is at full blast.
"The anti-Mueller rhetoric in conservative media right now is part of a feedback loop," Nicole Hemmer, the author of a book about conservative media, "Messengers of the Right," told CNNMoney.
"Conservative media personalities know Trump hates the investigation and wants it shut down," she said in an email. "They bash the investigation and Mueller, and when Trump sees that happening (say, on 'Fox & Friends') it reinforces his belief that the investigation is illegitimate and that he should do something to end it. The likely consequence is that this increases the odds of Trump attempting to fire Mueller."
Hemmer added: "We'll have to wait and see whether internal restraints within the White House — lawyers and advisers — are enough to stop him from doing that."
What happens now depends on us.