2. Trump orders Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller. Sessions quits, as does Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. Eventually someone agrees to fire Mueller. Republicans, together with Democrats, pass by a veto-proof majority an independent prosecutor statute. Before impeachment proceedings can finish, Democrats sweep to victory in 2018 in the House and gain a seat or two in the Senate. Trump cannot be removed, but his presidency is in tatters. Some aides or ex-aides face criminal prosecution. LESSON: Fire Mueller, and Congress will hire him back.
3. Republicans join Democrats in warning Trump not to fire Mueller. Mueller remains and keeps digging. Mueller subpoenas damaging documents; Trump refuses to comply. A court orders him to comply. He doesn’t. We have a full-blown constitutional crisis. LESSON: Congress cannot delegate all responsibility to Mueller. It must conduct a parallel investigation and, if need be, commence impeachment proceedings.
4. Republicans join Democrats in warning Trump not to fire Mueller. Mueller remains and keeps digging. Mueller subpoenas damaging documents; Trump refuses to comply. A court orders him to comply. He declares this a witch hunt, an attack on his family (or whatever). Then he resigns, claiming he has already made America great. He tells the country that Vice President Pence will carry on in his place. LESSON: Congress must protect Mueller and preserve the possibility that Trump may be forced to resign.
5. Republicans join Democrats in warning Trump not to fire Mueller. Mueller subpoenas damaging documents. Trump complies. The evidence of collusion and/or obstruction is overwhelming. Mueller recommends prosecution or impeachment. The GOP turns on Trump, who is impeached and removed (with the GOP by that time possibly in the minority in one or both houses). LESSON: Congress must protect Mueller and pay the price for failure to oppose Trump’s nomination and election.
Is there a sixth scenario in which Mueller exonerates Trump? That’s the least likely outcome after Trump has fired former FBI director James B. Comey and threatened the special counsel. Why would he do those things unless there was something really, really bad to find? And if there is something bad, Mueller will find it. You can understand then why Trump sounds frantic. In no scenario does Trump’s presidency recover.