According to local media from the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city's police are preparing for a potentially major event involving special counsel Robert Mueller, and they're not fooling around. Namely, the Pittsburgh police want riot gear if Trump fires Mueller, according to an email that leaked on Wednesday.
As Pittsburgh's local ABC affiliate WTAE reported on Wednesday, an email was sent out to the city's police stating that as of Thursday, all major crimes detectives would be required to bring their full uniforms into work, as well as any riot gear they've been issued. This is apparently taking place as a preparatory step in case Trump moves to fire Mueller, and causes spontaneous and overwhelming demonstrations.
"There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller," the email reportedly said. "This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and would more than likely happen on short notice."
"Based on this information, beginning tomorrow, April 19, 2018 all Major Crimes detectives are required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear) with them to work until further notice."
Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto has since confirmed the authenticity of the email, and has stated that it's strictly precautionary ― the city does not, in other words, have any unique reason to believe Mueller's firing is imminent.
Pittsburgh Director of Public Safety Wendell Hissrich put out a press release on Wednesday, clarifying that it has no knowledge of the president's decision-making, and explaining why the police department is getting the riot gear ready. The same statement was provided to Bustle.
"Often the events we prepare for do not occur. However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response," the statement reads, in part. “We receive information regularly about potential events and/or threats, assess the credibility of the information and plan for a potential event. In this case, we have not assessed the credibility of the potential for disturbances, and we do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process."
Peduto made much the same case in his remarks to reporters ― namely, that it's simply a matter of being prepared for any possible outcome. According to WTAE's Marcie Cipriani, Peduto said that the unprecedented nature of firing a special counsel is part of the cause for concern.
"You want to be precautionary, especially on something that is unprecedented in American history," he reportedly told Cipriani.
There isn't really a publicly known reason that the Pittsburgh police would suspect Trump is getting closer to firing Mueller, beyond the same context clues and recent reports that have fueled so much speculation. Trump has reportedly wanted to fire Mueller multiple times since first taking office, once in the summer of last year and then once again in December, according to reporting by The New York Times. Trump has denied that he ever tried to fire Mueller, calling it "fake news."
Some Democratic and Republican members of congress alike have united to push for legislation explicitly protecting Mueller from being fired, but it's been met with opposition from GOP leadership in both houses, namely Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It remains to be seen whether McConnell or Ryan will change their position on this, although given the past reports of Trump wanting Mueller to be fired, it seems unlikely that there'd be a more urgent reason to pass a new law protecting him. In short, it sounds as if Pittsburgh is preparing for what might arrive regarding Mueller's investigation ― or, rather, its premature halting.