The Four Threats to Robert Mueller

The inquiry remains in great danger, facing four looming threats from Mr. Trump and his allies.

Curbing Mr. Mueller: Almost as bad as firing him, Mr. Trump could install someone at the Department of Justice to oversee Mr. Mueller’s investigation, a minder who could control (and cut) Mr. Mueller’s budget, eliminate some of his team or curtail the scope of his investigation.

Mueller seems safe as long as his current supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is in place

.. But the president has reportedly grumbled about Mr. Rosenstein and could replace him with a crony who would be more willing to interfere. The president might also try to force out Attorney General Jeff Sessions

.. Congress should maintain its recent practice of taking short, pro forma adjournments rather than taking a full recess, because the latter would allow the president to fire Justice Department personnel and replace them with recess appointments.

.. Smearing Mr. Mueller: The most certain and perhaps most insidious assault will be more of what we have already seen — a campaign to smear Mr. Mueller and his staff by pushing meritless attacks.

.. That was followed by the canard that Mr. Mueller had unlawfully obtained Trump transition-team emails — even though there is no legal basis for an expectation of privacy on email accounts provided by the government.

.. Democracy demands defense with analysis, opinion and the readiness for public protest (one of the co-authors, Mr. Eisen, has been involved in organizing these efforts). Peaceful force is something that Mr. Trump has made clear he understands. We must continue to deploy it, lest the president achieve by debasement what our collective efforts have thus far prevented him from doing directly: stopping Robert Mueller’s investigation.