Sunday, December 3, 2017
By Margaret Drew, UMass Law School
Signs indicate that two powerful forces are escalating simultaneously.
The periodic threat to fire Secretary of State Tillerson will inevitably lead to actual firing, particularly now that a potential successor has been named. Replacement was inevitable following Tillerson's public acknowledgement that he called the President a moron. The speculated replacement is Mike Pompeo, CIA director. Pompeo disdains negotiation with those known not to support the US. Iran, for example, is a country Pompeo says he would not negotiate with. As the President increases his noises around North Korea, the more war with North Korea seems inevitable.
At the same time, Special Prosecutor Mueller's investigation is accelerating. A deal has been struck with Michael Flynn in exchange for his ongoing cooperation with Mueller's investigation. Reportedly Jared Kushner is one of those against whom evidence is mounting. The closer Mueller probes Trump family members, the more likely we will see aggresssive and destructive backlash.
War with North Korea can be manipulated in several ways. War can be the distraction Trump seeks from the Mueller investigation. Historically, the country has been reluctant to change leaders during war time. If Trump perceives that he will be forced out of office, he may leave the White House after doing the most harm as possible. Nuclear exchanges with North Korea would be one way to inflict serious damage.
But there is an alternative. Rather than firing the special prosecutor, Mueller could be given the option of indicting the President or Trump family members, or stopping the investigation and avoiding the consequences of war. Will it be Mueller's choice?