Rule of Law

RELEASE: If Trump Fires Mueller, “Potent” Grand Jury and Judge Remain

WASHINGTON—Constitutional Accountability Center today is releasing a new Issue Brief, The Russia Investigation: What Happens to the Grand Jury if Mueller Is Fired?, that explores the options available to the grand jury and Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell if President Donald J. Trump were to remove Special Counsel Robert Mueller III.

“For months, the country has looked on as President Trump flirts with firing Bob Mueller,” said CAC President Elizabeth Wydra, “and it is important that both President Trump and the American people know that the firing of Mueller will not necessarily end the important work that Mueller is doing. While there are limits to what the grand jury could do in the wake of Mueller’s filing, the judge and the grand jury could nonetheless take some actions that could be incredibly potent.”

This new Issue Brief, written by CAC Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod and Appellate Counsel Ashwin Phatak, examines the history of the grand jury from the founding era to the present, comparing and contrasting the power that grand juries had in the past to that which they exercise today. It then discusses how the grand jury impaneled in the Mueller investigation by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell could, with the Chief Judge’s approval, produce a report of their findings even in the absence of Special Counsel Mueller. The Issue Brief then explores Judge Howell’s authority to release such a report in an appropriate manner, including perhaps to a committee of Congress.

“President Trump needs to know that he cannot fire the grand jury or the judge,” Wydra continued. “Before giving into his basest impulses and firing Mueller, President Trump would do well to remember that.”


Now in our tenth year, Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit the new CAC website at