Clapper: Trump won't fire Mueller, he'll just keep undermining his investigation

Clapper: Trump won't fire Mueller, he'll just keep undermining his investigation
© Greg Nash

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert Clapper10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Trump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed 'unlawful spying' in email to supporters MORE predicted on Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE will not seek to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, but will instead continue to undermine his probe's credibility in public statements.

In an interview with Bloomberg News published Saturday, the former intelligence chief said he thinks Trump will attempt to ruin the credibility of Mueller and his investigation so that when the probe's results are released, Americans will be divided over the conclusion.

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"I think his strategy, which he's not very subtle about, is rather than [fire Mueller] he will simply try to undermine the investigation and undermine Mueller so that regardless of what he comes out with, many in the public, particularly those who are in the Trump base, will not find it credible," Clapper said.

Clapper said he believes Trump knows the potential "firestorm" that would come as a result of firing the special counsel would be too much for his administration to bear.

"I think if he did, it would set off a firestorm and create a constitutional crisis. I think you'd have people in the streets, not unlike what I went through post-Vietnam," Clapper said. "I think he understands the firestorm it would create if he actually fired Mueller."

Clapper's remarks come months after a report from The New York Times that Trump tried to fire Mueller in December. Murmurings pointed to Trump making moves to terminate the special counsel upon hearing reports that Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records on the president's finances.

Trump reportedly backed down from the threat after Mueller's team informed the White House that those reports were inaccurate. The White House has maintained publicly that the president is not considering firing the special counsel, but has the right to do so.

“He certainly believes that he has the power to do so,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in April, adding that Trump was not acting at the time to fire him.