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It's Too Late For Trump To Fire Mueller, Expert Says

It's Too Late For Trump To Fire Mueller, Expert Says Promo Image

President Donald Trump was reportedly "seething" while witnessing the latest developments in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

CNN reported the news, citing an anonymous Republican source close to the White House.  

Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of the Trump campaign, surrendered to the FBI on Oct. 30, after he was indicted on 12 counts related to money laundering, including "conspiracy against the United States." One of Manafort's former colleagues, Rick Gates, has also been charged.

But there's nothing Trump can do about it now, according to one expert, reports MSNBC. "Trump would be impeached the next day if he tried to remove Mueller," said John Lauro, who was a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York from 1986 to 1988 during the tenure of former President Ronald Reagan.

"He can't be fired by the president of the United States. There's no way," Lauro insisted.

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham agreed, telling Fox News there "will be holy hell to pay" if Mueller is dismissed.

But he doesn't think Trump will try to do so. "I've heard nothing from the White House to suggest that the president's going to try to replace Mr. Mueller," he said. "Zero evidence from anybody I've talked to. It would be wrong to do so unless there were cause." 

As Lauro explained, "The significance of the indictment is it gives Mueller cover now going forward. Nobody is going to touch him because Paul Manafort is under indictment. And second, it gives him an opportunity to press Manafort for information."

Lauro says U.S. authorities will use the indictment to put pressure on Manafort to cooperate in the investigation, and that more indictments should be expected.

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Responding to the news, Trump said on Twitter that the alleged crimes by Manafort occurred long before he employed him to help with his presidential bid, reports the Daily Mail.

"Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????" the president tweeted.

A spokesman for Manafort did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC on Oct. 30. A spokesman for Gates could not immediately be located. 

The 31-page indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of working as unregistered agents, providing political consulting and lobbying work in Ukraine between at least 2006 and 2015, The New York Times reports. 

They were paid tens of millions of dollars for the work, and attempted to hide the money in a series of foreign companies and bank accounts, the indictment said.

Manafort allegedly spent the money lavishly, buying $849,215 worth of clothes at a New York store, and running up a bill of  $520,440 at another clothing store in Beverly Hills. 

He spent $934,350 on antique rugs, and $225,000 on three Range Rovers and a Mercedes-Benz.

An additional $5.4 million was paid for home repairs on his house in the Hamptons, which also received $800,000 in landscaping.

Manafort and Gates were legally required to report their work for and payment from the Ukrainians to the United States, but they did not, according to documents cited in the indictment.

Their Ukraine work was first disclosed in news reports in August 2016, when Manafort was still working for the Trump campaign, at which time they "developed a false and misleading cover story" to distance themselves from the Ukraine, according to federal prosecutors.

In a separate case, a foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a contact with a professor who has ties to Kremlin officials. 

There is mention in the Manafort-Gates indictment of campaign-related interaction between the two men and Russia.

Sources: CNBC, CNN, The New York Times, Fox News, Daily Mail / Featured Image: Wilson Dias/Agencia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Pexels (2)

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