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GOP panicking as signs point to imminent Mueller blockbuster

   

The scorched-earth attacks against the FBI by a growing number of House and Senate Republicans demonstrate a high degree of fear that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE will make blockbuster moves in the coming days and weeks that will define the fate of ongoing investigations of the Russian attack against America.

In recent days, there have been an unusually high number of revelations and disclosures, with rapid-fire speed, of upcoming meetings between Trump and Trump associates with Mueller and his special counsel team.

Most likely, these revelations are coming from Trump associates who will be questioned by Mueller, or their attorneys, which is within their right whether or not this move is legally or politically wise. 

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The news that the special counsel and Trump’s attorneys are negotiating the terms of Mueller’s questioning of Trump, which appears poised to occur within three weeks if terms are agreed upon, suggests that some potentially decisive moves by Mueller are likely to happen in February and potentially could begin this month.

The prospect of Trump’s testimony under oath will be a precipitating event for either a climactic moment for the investigation or a true constitutional crisis if Trump refuses to agree to terms, and Mueller moves to subpoena Trump to testify before the grand jury.

I have long warned readers that there is a strong chance that Trump will never voluntarily agree to testify under oath, no matter what he says. What Trump said to reporters on Wednesday, that he yearns to testify under oath, was totally meaningless because he also said his testimony is contingent upon the advice he receives from his lawyers.

Trump already knows the private advice his lawyers have offered, so when he adds that qualifier to his stated desire to testify, the odds are high that this testimony does not happen and all hell breaks loose legally and politically if and when Trump formally says no to Mueller.

Behind the scenes throughout official Washington, there is a bracing for the storm that could soon engulf the investigation.

This is the context for the extreme, often irrational and in some cases ludicrous frenzied attacks against the FBI that are coming from a growing number of Republican members of the House and Senate and their hardcore allies in the media.

Most of these attacks against the FBI are so preposterous that they will not be itemized here, except to suggest that these attacks against the FBI are horrendously wrong and create huge political danger for Republicans.

These growing GOP attacks against the FBI are politically self-destructive and legally disastrous, because they suggest to reasonable people that they have no confidence that Trump and other Trump associates will be cleared by investigators.

Finally, America has now entered a very dangerous zone. If Trump ultimately intends to fire Mueller, grant preemptive pardons to those who have not yet been charged or grant pardons to those who have already been charged, those actions will be triggered by the imminent fact that Trump will either soon testify before Mueller under oath or refuse to testify.

This would set off a constitutional crisis and a huge political backlash against Trump and Republicans who defend him by attacking the FBI.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.