Trump should actually welcome Chuck Grassley's bill to protect Robert Mueller

Trump should actually welcome Chuck Grassley's bill to protect Robert Mueller

This week, news broke that Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySchumer: Share 'confidential' Kavanaugh documents with entire Senate This week: Senate tries to avoid landmines on massive spending bill Dems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records MORE (R-Iowa) intends to move legislation protecting Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III through the Senate Judiciary Committee, hopefully paving the way for a floor vote in Congress’ upper chamber and in the House. While many people seem to be surprised by the move, they should not be. And Republicans, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE himself — should be thanking Grassley for moving on the issue.

While it remains unlikely that Trump would in fact fire Mueller — to do so would demonstrate tremendous weakness, when the president’s popularity with his base has always been a result of his image as a Hulk-level tough guy, an impression Trump carefully and rightfully cherishes and guards — Grassley is right to move this legislation forward. There are several major reasons why this is so.

First, it draws a line under the media’s ability to depict Trump as a rash, Richard Nixon redux just waiting for Saturday night to roll around so he can undertake his own massacre. Despite the obvious uptick in his anger level this week, Trump is still unlikely to actually pull the trigger on nixing Mueller (or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinOnly courts can rein in 'King Rosenstein' Five things to know about Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official under fire from Trump Preet Bharara: ‘God bless the Deep State’ if it’s people who care about the law MORE) — but by getting this legislation through Committee, and ideally getting it passed into law, Grassley and Congress can relieve the American public from the constant high-drama, Defcon-1 breaking news alerts from cable news and major mainstream media about a supposedly-imminent firing.

That may sound insignificant, but for a lot of Americans who are tired of every day being treated like 9/11 when they’re just trying to get the news at the end of a long, hard day at work, it matters greatly.

And, should Trump actually be at risk of firing Mueller or Rosenstein in a moment of extreme weakness, the legislation Grassley intends to move through committee would serve to save Trump from himself — and from a lot of Democrats, who would love nothing more than for him to give Mueller his marching orders, giving them an extra boost heading into November’s midterm elections. If Trump looks weak, which a firing would guarantee, Democrats benefit. If Trump doesn’t even have the option of doing something to so significantly aid the opposition party, so much the better for him and Republicans.

Republicans who support Trump should — and indeed many do — back Grassley and others giving this legislation a pathway forward, because it actually enables a lot of the bad press surrounding Trump to disappear, and eliminates a bunch of doubts about whether he’ll finish out his first term and be well-positioned to run for re-election. These things are significant for the GOP, politically, even if they may strike some as counterintuitive. Objectively, there’s no reason to think as of now that Trump would not finish out his first term or run for re-election. Yet, every day, constant speculation around the topic ensues.

Counterintuitively,  in protecting the Mueller probe, Grassley might just be ensuring more negative scrutiny for Democrats and some of the biggest names in Clintonworld — as well as the D.C. establishment more broadly. Think about it: The biggest victims of the Mueller investigation so far have been very well-entrenched, D.C. lobbyists — the dictionary definition of the “Swamp” that President Trump and other Republicans so routinely rail against. Who was one of the biggest names to be brought before the Mueller probe, in fact perhaps the biggest name? None other than Tony Podesta, the brother of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonConservative commentator: Trump administration 'can’t keep gaslighting people' MTV launches initiative to get young people to register to vote Booming economy, kept promises, making America great — again MORE’s former chief of staff and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton to headline trio of DNC fundraisers: report Allegations of ‘Trump TV’ distract from real issues at Broadcasting Board of Governors Chelsea Clinton: Politics a 'definite maybe' in the future MORE’s former campaign chairman.

Anyone who thinks Podesta will be the last big name Democrat Mueller considers isn’t paying attention to the way Russia and Russia-allied players have tried to influence both parties via cold, hard cash over years now.

Finally, Grassley is also doing the right thing here by being a good committee chairman and giving consideration to legislation that has the support of a majority of his members. That’s basic governance 101, and at a time when so many Americans across the political spectrum lack even a shred of confidence in government, it’s nice to see someone in Washington, D.C., doing their job.

When Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Overnight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Dem senator introduces proposal to rein in Trump on security clearances MORE (R-Ky.) said he did not see a “clear indication yet” that Grassley’s bill was necessary, he was ultimately half right: It’s unlikely that Trump would fire Mueller, so strictly speaking, the legislation Grassley intends his committee to weigh is not “needed.” But it is still highly desirable, for all of these reasons. The committee and the broader Senate should pass it, as should the House.

Liz Mair is the president of Mair Strategies LLC and a former adviser to Scott Walker, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul seeks to cut off Planned Parenthood funds via massive spending bill Arizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Trump plays 'quick round of golf' with Rand Paul in New Jersey MORE, Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryFive things to know about Trump’s new coal power plan Overnight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate Perry: US to become net energy exporter within 18 months MORE and Carly Fiorina. In 2008, she was the RNC’s online communications director. Her firm worked in opposition to the AHCA, including on grounds raised by Cruz and Freedom Caucus members. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMair.