Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his associates, brilliantly played the President when he handed off investigation of Trump's lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The latter looks likely now to charge him with no less than bank fraud, wire fraud, and violations of campaign finance law and possibly much more.
So if Trump ordered subordinates to fire Mueller, the Cohen investigation and prosecution continues untouched because it's in an entirely separate office and can't be stopped by the President nor the Justice Department.
As the Prospect piece notes: "A President with broad political support might have illusions of quashing all such investigations, but Trump lacks the political support, and firing Rosenstein and Mueller would further erode what remains of his political backing, even among Republicans."
The piece moves on to discuss what the writer calls "a long-deferred crisis for the Republican Party" -- specifically, the Trump millstone hanging around collective GOP necks. They have been whistling past the graveyard for so long when it comes to Trump's behavior and corruption that they're now in a very bad place and an angry majority of voters is staring them down.
The Prospect article brought to mind another excellent piece that ran in The New Yorker over the weekend (link here) with the title "Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency."
There, the writer notes "there are lots of details and surprises to come, but the endgame of this presidency seems as clear now as those of Iraq and the financial crisis did months before they unfolded....This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth."
Trump is in a corner with nowhere to go. This is the final act of his presidential farce. The final act may go on a long time -- far too long, in fact.
But it won't get any better for him. And, almost certainly, a lot worse. It will the darkest just before dawn. Stay tuned.