The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell, Twitter erupted, and Republicans turned against Trump in the wake of his weekend Twitter tantrum.
The New York Times reported that “For months, President Trump’s legal advisers implored him to avoid so much as mentioning the name of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, in his tweet, and to do nothing to provoke him or suggest his investigation is not proper.”
Apparently feeling emboldened of the wake of recent White House staffing shake-ups and the late Friday firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, Trump chose to ignore that advice and took aim at Mueller in a series of weekend tweets calling his investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia a “witchhunt” and attacking Mueller’s credibility.
His Twitterstorm began Saturday afternoon with a tweet aimed at McCabe. “The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” he tweeted
Several hours later, he posted a response to his own tweet, calling out Mueller by name.
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!”
On Sunday, Trump was back at it first thing in the morning. He started out with a couple of tweets lashing out at McCabe and former FBI director James Comey before setting his sites on Mueller again.
“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” he tweeted.
As one might expect, Twitter was swift to respond with several leading journalists and politicians both criticizing and fact-checking Trump’s claim. There was other blow-back, as well, which we will discuss below.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell
CNBC, the business arm of NBC News, reported on the impact of Trump’s tweets on the Monday’s stock market.
CNBC reported that “U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as investors cast a wary eye at Washington following a Twitter tirade from President Donald Trump over the weekend… The Dow Jones industrial average fell 100 points at the open….The S&P 500 declined 0.5 percent, with tech sliding 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite pulled back 0.9 percent.”
Continuing, CNBC reported that: “The recent turmoil in Washington has this bull market ‘limping,’ according to Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.”
Trump’s Attack on Mueller Draws Strong Rebukes from Several Leading Republicans
The New York Times reported that several leading Republicans were quick to criticize Trump’s weekend tweets aimed at Mueller.
The attack on Mr. Mueller, a longtime Republican and former F.B.I.director appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, drew immediate rebukes from some members of the party who expressed concern that it might presage an effort to fire the special counsel. Such a move, they warned, would give the appearance of a corrupt attempt to short-circuit the investigation and set off a bipartisan backlash.
“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule-of-law nation,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, an ally of the president, said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “When it comes to Mr. Mueller, he is following the evidence where it takes him, and I think it’s very important he be allowed to do his job without interference, and there are many Republicans who share my view.”
The Hill reported that: “Trump’s criticism of Mueller in the wake of both McCabe and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson‘s firings has sparked speculation that Mueller could be next on the chopping block. But Democrats and Republicans say that would be the wrong move for Trump.”
“Give him the time, the resources, the independence to do his job,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” of Mueller.
BBC News reported that: “Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, said it appeared the president’s latest comments seemed to be preparing the ground for the firing of Mr Mueller.”
“I don’t know what the designs are on Mueller, but it seems to be building toward that, and I just hope it doesn’t go there… We can’t in Congress accept that,” he told CNN….
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, said: “As the Speaker has always said, Mr Mueller and his team should be able to do their job.”
The Washington Post Fact-Checks “Trump’s Error-Filled Tweetstorm About The Mueller Probe
The Washington Post devoted a lengthy article to fact-checking Trump’s weekend Twitter tantrum.
One of Trump’s more blatant lies was his claim that Mueller’s team was comprised of “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans.”
As The Washington Post reported:
Mueller is a registered Republican, as is Rosenstein, who appointed him. Publicly available voter registration information shows that 13 of the 17 members of Mueller’s team have previously registered as Democrats, while four had no affiliation or their affiliation could not be found, The Washington Post reported.
Nine of the 17 made political donations to Democrats, their contributions totaling more than $57,000. The majority came from one person, who also contributed to Republicans. Six donated to Clinton.
Continuing, The Washington Post reported that “federal regulations prohibit the Justice Department from considering the political affiliation or political contributions of career appointees, including those appointed to the special counsel’s office. So Mueller is legally prohibited from considering the political affiliations of the people he has hired.”
Pounding the last nail in Trump’s coffin, The Washington Post concluded their article reporting that:
It’s worth noting that Trump was big donor to Democrats, including seven times to Hillary Clinton, before he decided to run for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump switched his party registration at least five times; he was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2009.