The Wikipedian began his tale this way:
The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule’s influence behave otherwise normally — logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt [Hari] Seldon’s plan by invalidating Seldon’s assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.
Were it not for that word “subtle,” I think this contemporary comparison might actually have worked:
Maybe these guys figured they could clever their way out [of] some embarrassment by maneuvering Trump into appointing a special prosecutor. Then he and his people would not get too curious about this stuff as no one dares take on a special prosecutor. They just assumed Trump would be like a normal politician and roll over for them. Instead, Trump is banging away at them. Suddenly we have serious people saying Trump should fire Mueller and bring in someone fresh.
Back when Trump started running in the primary, I started calling him The Mule, after the character in the Asimov novel. For two years now, everyone who has dared to take on Trump has been blown to bits, usually by their own hand. It is quite remarkable. The arc of the Trump political career is littered with the obituaries of people who foolishly challenged him. The fact that Trump has maneuvered all of the main actors into the same box now, suggests he may have been way ahead of these guys all along.
I can believe that more easily than I can that business about, oh, four-dimensional chess.