Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller was trying to have Robert Mueller removed on the grounds that his appointment was unconstitutional — but his plan didn’t go so well.
Miller’s lawsuit has officially died in a Washington appeals court in what was a unanimous opinion, meaning the court will not unilaterally fire Mueller based on him the legality of his appointment.
Going Down in Flames
Miller, who was an employee of Stone’s, made the contention that Mueller’s appointment was a violation of the Appointments Clause in the Constitution.
The bulk of his argument centered around the fact Mueller was not appointed by a department head, nor was he appointed by the president.
As you may recall, Jeff Sessions was the attorney general at the time, but he had recused himself from the case.
As such, Rod Rosenstein was acting as the head of the Justice Department when he assigned Mueller as the Special Counsel.
Judge Judith Rogers, who penned the opinion, said: “Because the Special Counsel is an inferior officer, and the Deputy Attorney General became the head of the Department by virtue of becoming the Acting Attorney General as a result of a vacancy created by the disability of the Attorney General through recusal on the matter, we hold that Miller’s challenge to the appointment of the Special Counsel fails.”
But that was not the only bad news for Miller in this case. The same court also upheld a contempt charge Miller was hit with for refusing to testify before a grand jury in Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign team.
Out of Bullets
The wording of the court’s decision makes it very unlikely that Miller’s attorneys will win this case in a higher court, if they decided to go the appeals route.
Since the contempt charges were also upheld, it now seems likely Miller will be forced to testify if Mueller still sees fit to bring him before a grand jury again.
This is also bad news for Stone, as he has already been indicted by Mueller.
Stone was no doubt hoping this case would be ruled in favor of Miller, which more or less would have rendered his entire investigation moot.
While all of this is going on, Americans are still anxiously awaiting the release of the official report from Mueller in his Russia collusion probe.
As of late last week, we had every inclination the report would be issued to the attorney general this week. However, a report over the weekend said Mueller’s office had alerted the AG that the report is still not ready.