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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 GrassleyTrump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review 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 TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE himself — should be thanking Grassley for moving on the issue.

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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 RosensteinRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Former FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 Meadows calls on Rosenstein to resign 'immediately' 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 ClintonThe Democratic Donald Trump is coming Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure Dershowitz: Obama, Ellison have 'special obligation' to condemn Farrakhan MORE’s former chief of staff and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Poll finds Dems prioritize health care, GOP picks lower taxes when it's time to vote The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan 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 PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE, Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Stormy Daniels trade fire on Twitter | Three weeks to midterms | Pompeo meets Saudi king White House shelves rescue plan for coal, nuclear: report 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.