Shake-ups in the White House and the increasingly heated battle with Mueller

President Donald Trump attends a Greek Independence Day Celebration reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

With the ousting of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, it looks like President Trump’s cabinet is on the rocks – and the dismissals don’t seem like they will stop any time soon. Speculation indicates the sudden and recent turmoil comes as a result of the increasingly intense Mueller investigation as Trump reportedly seeks to get rid of the “deadweight” in his administration. Unironically, as is typical Trump fashion, he once conversely called his Cabinet the “finest group of people ever assembled as a Cabinet.” According to CNN, Trump “signaled” last Tuesday that he’s preparing to let go of more officials and aides with whom he has disagreed and clashed.

Trump is working toward achieving his ideal cabinet and getting rid of “corrupt” officials. In reality, however, his “shake-ups” seems to lack validity and reasons that supersede personal interest. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was recently fired, and Trump was quick to tweet his approval and champion McCabe’s removal. Trump claimed “the Fake News is besides themselves that McCabe got caught.” His tweet also included jabs at “Crooked H” and former FBI Director James Comey. According to CNBC news, McCabe was often subject to criticism from the President, and it seems apparent that personal bias – as also seems to be the case with Tillerson’s dismissal – played a role in McCabe’s firing. FBI Director Chris Wray insisted the firing was “not based on political or partisan influence.”

Now, with Tillerson gone, a crucial role in Trump’s administration is on the line, and it’s suspected that important Cabinet members will undergo the same fate soon. As of last night, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was replaced by John Bolton. It is clear Trump wishes to remove any and all who disagree with him as the Mueller probe heats up. Trump’s shakeups and the political turmoil on Capitol Hill are slowly unraveling. On March 22, Trump’s leading lawyer on the special counsel investigation, John Dowd, resigned. Unsurprisingly, his resignation came as Trump’s aim toward a more aggressive strategy was allegedly caused discord between them.

On March 20, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona tweeted a plea in response to this erratic behavior and the instability currently shaking the White House: “We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment.” The question remaining is, will it reach that point?

The White House is spiraling out of control, and Trump’s strategic “shake-ups” represent more of a ploy and a near-desperate attempt to better handle the Mueller investigation as it enlarges and endangers Trump’s standing. No better example illustrates this than Trump’s increasingly vocal attacks on Mueller in the past few days. Per usual, he has displayed his displeasure on Twitter incessantly.

On March 19, he implicitly referred to the investigation as a “total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest” and a day before, he called out Mueller’s team for having “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans.” He ended the tweet with a staunch “And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” His frantic tweeting and his impetuous behavior continues as volatility overwhelms and uncertainty is on the rise.

Trump isn’t one to listen to advice when he feels strongly about something. After Putin’s re-election, Trump was criticized for congratulating him for winning in what many deemed an undemocratic election. Although it seems radical, things may very well stay in this state of unpredictability. History tends to repeat itself, and Trump’s own Saturday Night Massacre may just be in the works.


Daniela Paredes is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.paredes@uconn.edu.