Trump isn't preparing to fire Mueller. What he's doing is worse.

The president is playing a long game to discredit and smear whatever findings arise out of the Russia investigation

Robert Mueller.
(Image credit: Illustrated | AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Have you heard that President Trump might fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Have you heard that he is irretrievably compromised, a close confidante of former FBI Director James Comey? Have you heard that Comey's Senate testimony vindicates President Trump and makes Mueller's work needless at best? Have you seen the story headlined on the Drudge Report that Mueller is staffing his investigation with Democratic donors? Do you agree with disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that it is "delusional" to think that this investigation could possibly be fair?

Since Comey's testimony last week made it clear that President Trump may very well have obstructed justice by firing the former FBI director, it has been Defcon 1 in Trump world. They know that Comey alone probably can't bring down Trump, and therefore the president's apologists have pointed the firehose of innuendo, fabrication, and exaggeration at Mueller himself. All of these viral spores — the Drudge links and fever-swamp hit pieces — are designed to infect the broader public with doubt and hostility toward Mueller's investigation of the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives seeking to undermine America's democracy. The axis of fabulist websites like Polizette and Breitbart is working overtime to discredit Mueller, operating hand in hand with their more mainstream handmaidens in the Republican mediasphere.

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David Faris

David Faris is an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. He is a frequent contributor to Informed Comment, and his work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Indy Week.