President Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller have a complicated relationship.
Mueller must carry out a largely independent investigation into Trump’s dealings with Russia and possibly whether he attempted to obstruct justice; Trump must weigh the political costs of how to respond to Mueller’s probe and what power he can, or should, exert over him.
The legal underpinnings of the relationship are as complex as the public struggle and illuminate the fraught structural balance between a special counsel and the president.
These are the three key legal questions surrounding their relationship.
Question 1: Could Trump fire Mueller?
Trump does not have the direct authority to fire Mueller, but he does have the power to compel someone else to do it for him.
According to the regulations governing special counsels, a special counsel can be removed “only by the personal action of the Attorney General. The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause,” and the reasoning must be provided in writing.
In this case, that means Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself. So, if Trump wants Mueller fired, he has to order Rosenstein to …read more
Source:: Time – Politics