Democrats Ponder Next Steps
My take: Rep. Maxine Waters says “Congress’s failure to impeach would set a dangerous precedent,” but leadership wants to focus on 2020 election.
Pelosi/Schumer are aware of Bill Clinton’s famous line, “In politics, it is better to be strong and wrong than right and weak.” Trying to remove Trump from office, given Senate realities, might seem right to some, but it would look weak, many Democrats believe.
Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.): “A less divided Congress, a less polarized Congress would take up Bob Mueller’s invitation to consider whether the president obstructed justice. But I do believe that there is no crime that would cause the congressional Republicans to turn on this president, so our constitutional-accountability mechanism is defanged by the Republican Party’s loyalty to the president.”
Barr for the Defense
My take: The Attorney General has now created provocative distractions defending Trump at least three times around the release of the Mueller report, diverting some of the press coverage away from Trump’s actions and to Barr. History needs to know: was Barr doing this on purpose, not just to spin a given day’s news cycle, but to knowingly draw some of the heat away from Trump? If so, why?
Lawful But Awful
My take: Our democratic institutions survive for now, but the corrosion continues. Trump’s refusal to testify; Barr’s look-over-here gimmicks; Republicans lack of interest in accountability; the use of government officials to protect a president’s political health by lying, including Sarah Sanders’ “slip of the tongue” — all demonstrate and reflect the reality that American systems and institutions are under assault by the actions of people in power.
Mueller Speaks…When..and Says…What?
My take: Democrats will be getting their political hopes up again if they think Mueller’s pending Hill testimony will change the dynamics, even if the IC goes hard after Barr, which seems unlikely.
Victory Lap on the Right
My take: Despite all the wrong-doing chronicled in the Mueller report, four factors combine to let Trump supporters feel they can become part of moveon.gov
- Trump won’t be prosecuted (and likely won’t be impeached).
- Barr and Trump worked together to keep Republican elected officials from defecting.
- Republican elites (including Fox and Rush) believe that for 2020 they must all hang together or they will surely hang separately.
- Declaring victory and urging the country to move on/turn the page is a tried-and-true political move that will appeal to many voters.