Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump indicated in a tweet on Thursday that he could fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he were so inclined—despite little legal evidence supporting the statement. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With No Evidence or Legal Precedent, Trump Claims He Has Authority to Fire Mueller

"We can't have the highest office of the land exempt from abiding by the law."

Julia Conley

In an early morning tweet, President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that he is legally able to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller—despite an understanding among legal experts that he does not have this authority.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also stated that the president "certainly has the power" to dismiss Mueller, who has been conducting an investigation into Trump's 2016 campaign since the president fired former FBI Director James Comey last May.

In at least two Supreme Court cases, the nation's top judges have ruled that the president cannot legally remove employees of a government agency—an authority that lies with the heads of each department.

In an 1839 decision, the Supreme Court said "the president has certainly no power to remove" officials, while current Chief Justice John G. Roberts found just eight years ago that "it is ordinarily the department head, rather than the president, who enjoys the power of removal."

Critics and Democratic leaders have warned that any move by Trump to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—undermining or ending the Justice Department's investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russia—would throw the nation into a constitutional crisis and spark calls for impeachment proceedings.

More than 300,000 Americans have prepared to revolt in the event of such an incident, with MoveOn.org and other groups planning more than 800 demonstrations in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"We can't have the highest office of the land exempt from abiding by the law," Erich Picha, president of Friends of the Earth U.S., told Reuters on Wednesday.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·


Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·


DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Big Climate Win': California to Ban Sale of Gas Heaters and Furnaces by 2030

"This is the first state to do it," noted one advocate. "Who's next?"

Brett Wilkins ·


44 House Democrats Push Biden DOJ to Investigate DeSantis Over 'Cruel Migrant Flights'

"The actions of the officials in Texas and Florida were not only fundamentally cruel and uniquely un-American; there remains a likelihood that federal laws were violated."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo