Only a little over two weeks ago, in the wake of reports about remarks the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had made about the president’s fitness for office and an offer to secretly tape conversations with him, his job appeared to be on the line — along with the fate of the Russia investigation led by the special counsel Robert Mueller.
On Monday, President Trump said he has no plans to fire him, and many Americans may have breathed a sigh of relief. But while it’s true that his departure would have been cause for worry for those who seek to protect the independence and integrity of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, at this stage of the inquiry, even a replacement dead set on shutting it down would find such a maneuver nearly impossible to accomplish — and with each day that goes by, it becomes even harder.
To begin with, there is no such thing as a single “Russia investigation.” The F.B.I. pursues cases against individuals and organizations, not topics — this allows each case to have the flexibility to go in the direction the evidence leads, regardless of what happens with other, related cases. After the Sept. 11 attacks, for example, “Pentbomb” was the umbrella name for hundreds of discrete cases on the hijackers, their networks and Al Qaeda. [Continue reading…]