The war continues

Meanwhile Congressional Republicans are also pretending to think Mueller is a Secret Agent for The Democrats Plus The Devil Plus The King of the Mooslims.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein adamantly defended the character and impartiality of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, as he came head-to-head on Wednesday with an increasingly aggressive campaign by Republicans to discredit the inquiry.

The Republicans’ effort received a fresh jolt from the release one night earlier of text messages exchanged last year between an F.B.I. agent, Peter Strzok, and an F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, describing the possibility of an election victory by President Trump as “terrifying” and saying that Hillary Clinton “just has to win.” Mr. Mueller removed Mr. Strzok from the Russia investigation as soon as he learned of the texts, a step that Mr. Rosenstein praised.

But is that political? Or is it because Trump is the most disgusting person in the world? That’s the thing about Trump: the horror of him goes way beyond the political, even though the political is certainly included. He’s a terrible person in every perceptible way, and he’s in a position to do damage we quail from itemizing. He terrifies plenty of Republicans.

“The public trust in this whole thing is gone,” said Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, summing up sentiments among his party. “It seems to me there are two things you can do: You can disband the Mueller special prosecutor, and you can do what we’ve all called for and appoint a second special counsel to look into this.”

But the swelling campaign to undermine Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has dominated conservative media for days, appeared to have little effect on Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees Mr. Mueller. Mr. Rosenstein said he would only fire Mr. Mueller if he had cause under Justice Department regulations — and he said nothing that has happened so far met that standard.

There’s no low they won’t happily stoop to.

Republicans repeatedly pressed Mr. Rosenstein to appoint a second special counsel to investigate political partisanship in the department in its handling of the Trump-Russia investigation or in last year’s decision not to charge Mrs. Clinton with a crime over her use of a private email server while secretary of state — an idea that has been promoted heavily by commentators on Fox News and elsewhere in recent days.

Fox News is running the country now. Not informing the people who run the country along with the citizens who vote for them, but just plain running the damn country. It’s so pathetic.

Mr. Mueller, a registered Republican appointed by President George W. Bush to direct the F.B.I., has long had critics in the most pro-Trump corners of the House and the conservative news media. But in recent weeks, as his investigation has delivered a series of indictments to high-profile associates of the president and evidence that at least two of them are cooperating with the inquiry, those critics have grown louder and in numbers.

So the more criminal Trump appears to be, the harder Fox and Co try to protect him. I see.

Democrats say the pattern is becoming clear: As Mr. Mueller moves closer to Mr. Trump’s inner circle, Republicans try to discredit federal law enforcement and undercut the eventual findings of the special counsel. The Republican effort may also be intended to blunt the political repercussions should Mr. Mueller be fired, Democrats say.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee’s senior Democrat, called the new Republican demands “wildly dangerous” to American institutions.

“I understand the instinct to want to give cover to the president,” he said. “I am fearful that the majority’s effort to turn the tables on the special counsel will get louder and more frantic as the walls continue to close in around the president.”

Perhaps more portentous is the restive Senate, a less partisan body where Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May was greeted with relief. Skepticism about the special counsel’s investigation is starting to take root there, too.

It’s sickening and alarming.

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