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This is the big parlor game in DC right now—will there be a constitutional crisis? On Monday, of course, the FBI raided President Trump’s lawyer’s office. The president freaked out, rage-tweeting about the WITCH HUNT! and how ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IS DEAD! Let’s survey the playing field:
- CNN: The president is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein so that a lackey could impose restraints on special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Politico: Quote from a GOP operative: “The all-caps tweet, that’s the primal scream. That’s the war cry. He’s losing his shit. We’re at a different level now.”
- NYT: Trump wanted to fire Mueller in December, after hearing reports about subpoenas from the special counsel’s office into his dealings with Deutsche Bank, but Mueller’s office talked him down by assuring him the reports were not accurate. The president definitely has nothing to hide.
- Politico: Trump will host a dinner for three Republican leaders tonight, which, you know, could be interesting, given the circumstances and the fact that the GOP Congress is doing its level best to turn a blind eye to this unfolding mess.
- The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees no need to protect Mueller, because of course not.
- NYT: The raids on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sought records of hush-money payments to two women with whom the president allegedly had affairs.
- CNN: Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara believes there’s a high likelihood that Cohen will be charged with a crime.
- WaPo: Dana Boente, a former top DOJ office who is now at the FBI, has been interviewed by Mueller and turned over notes including recollections of James Comey’s descriptions of interactions with the president, which could be evidence in an obstruction case.
- CNN: After the raid on Cohen, Trump is reevaluating his commitment to sit for an interview with Mueller.
- Axios: In an interview set to air Sunday, former FBI director James Comey compares President Trump to a mob boss and says other things that “are going to shock the president and his team.” Should make for an interesting Political Twitter Sunday night.
WHAT IT MEANS: This all seems like it’s building to a climax. The closer Mueller comes, the closer Trump edges toward the Saturday Night Massacre. If Cohen gets indicted, if Jared Kushner or Don Jr. got indicted, if the president sat for an interview and didn’t like how it went—any of those things could tip him over the edge and lead him to want to end it. The White House is already asserting its authority to do so. The question is, will the Republicans who control Congress stand for it? And if they let it happen, will the voters punish them for it in November? And if that happens, will the newly elected Democratic Congress hold Trump accountable for holding himself above the law?
Related:House Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for reelection. “Friends say that after Ryan passed tax reform, his longtime dream, he was ready to step out of a job that has become endlessly frustrating, in part because of President Trump.”