Justice Department officials and FBI agents could simply pick up where a fired Mueller left off. State attorneys could bring their own charges against Trump and his associates. Even as a private citizen, Mueller might be able to publicize or share his findings with Congress.

“Bureaucracies are complicated animals and this one has metastasized beyond the Mueller investigation,” said Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and editor in chief of the blog Law Fare. “That’s the thing that functionally protects the investigation.”…

“Those career people won’t pack up their bags and go away,” said Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor. “And if a certain president thinks Mueller is aggressive, the [Justice Department’s] Public Integrity Division would not let this go.”