Methods of sabotaging investigations

At this point in time it is clear that Donald Trump is seriously trying to evade responsibility for any acts that he and his family may have committed in the past or since he became the President.
We can tell this because he is working on two tactics:
1. He has ordered staff to investigate Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, looking for issues that might give him (as he sees it) grounds to dismiss him
2. He has been asking legal advisors about the limits of his Presidential Pardon powers

Option (1) is what I term the “nuclear option”. Dismissing Mueller would send the signal that Trump intends to evade any and all external scrutiny of his actions. Remember that Richard Nixon’s position became untenable only after he fired Archibald Cox from his role of Special Prosecutor over the emerging Watergate scandal. That led to the erosion of support for Nixon inside the Republican Party to the point where he resigned rather than be convicted in a Senate impeachment trial. Firing Mueller, whose record is unimpeachably good, will put the GOP in a nasty dilemna. Accepting the dismissal will lead to them being seen as accomplices in a cover-up. Their alternative is to set up their own independent investigation into Trump’s behavior and actions, possibly with Mueller continuing in his role, but reporting to the House or the Senate without answering to the POTUS. They will be very reluctant to do that, but negative public reaction may force their hand. It’s all about the 2018 elections. If enough GOP elected representatives say “either we investigate or we will be slaughtered next year at the polls”, then the GOP may continue to investigate.
Option (2) is one I consider to be more likely. Trump does not want to resign as POTUS without protection of himself and his family from legal consequences. He therefore is likely to pre-emptively pardon his entire family and business associates for any and all illegal acts committed over the last umpteen years.
(NOTE – in 1974, in response to inquiries from the Nixon administration, legal counsel advised that a President cannot pardon himself).
If Trump were to resign as POTUS (which I consider to be unlikely, until he finds out that he will lose an impeachment trial in the Senate) he would likely demand that VP Mike Pence also pardon him as part of the resignation deal. The GOP would probably accept that sort of deal, simply to sweep the Trump era under the rug and be able to continue with their authoritarian legislative agenda.
Please note, however, my previous posting. Presidential Pardon power only extends to Federal crimes. Donald Trump could still be investigated for acts that potentially violate State laws. If he is found guilty at State level, he or his successors currently have no way to pardon him of those crimes.


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