It Only Gets Harder Here for Trump WH
There are some who have argued that this might free Trump to pursue his agenda. Sam Stein said this on Morning Joe and Nate Silver argues something like that here.
“Why this is good for Trump.”
“Although the simple case is that Mueller’s appointment is not welcome news for Trump — the White House was surprised by the announcement — it does have some plausible benefits for the president, especially in the near term. The Russia investigation had been dogging the Trump administration, and his firing of Comey had turned into a debacle.”
“Trump can now say there is an independent investigation going on, by someone he did not personally appoint and who is not beholden to his party. And Mueller has very strong credentials. The president and his team, in theory, can turn the focus to governing, while deferring questions about the investigation. And maybe Comey, who appears to have notes of every conversation he has had with the president, will share them with Mueller and not The New York Times. (That said, as of late Wednesday, Trump had not yet reacted to Mueller’s appointment — a poorly worded Twitter rant could mitigate any short-term benefit for Trump.)”
He seems to think this will be good for the GOP agenda. That’s Stein’s argument too-‘Now Trump can govern.’
I don’t get it-do we want that?
Back to Silver:’
“Republicans now have more room to get back to their policy goals, such as tax reform and Obamacare repeal. Mueller’s investigation is likely to take months. While that unfolds, Trump can sign into law bills passed by Republicans in the House and the Senate.”
I think that’s too optimistic. The market has now given up on tax reform for this year. If the GOP wants to get rid of ObamaCare this year, they have about one month left. If not the issue will be handing into next year’s elections.
“A Special Counsel has a way of sucking all the air out of a WH’s agenda.”
“Aides and lawyers who have been swallowed up by previous White House investigations point to President Ronald Reagan’s troubles defeating veto overrides during the Iran-Contra affair as well as the way Clinton was politically paralyzed in his second term.”
“The risk is that you lose control of your agenda,” said Robert Luskin, a Washington white-collar attorney who represented Bush senior adviser Karl Rove in the Plame investigation, as well as a pair of Clinton senior officials during Whitewater. “It’s an enormous distraction. It’s an energy suck. As long as the clouds hang over a presidency it becomes much more difficult to get anything else done.”
“You don’t realize how much of your political capital you’re spending combating and responding to these investigations,” added a former senior Reagan aide.
“Many former White House aides acknowledged a take-cover mentality is likely to grow for the Trump administration as aides start seeking out their own personal legal counsel.”
“If anyone is in position to give testimony or provide evidence they damn well better have the advice of counsel,” said former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn. “That really is important because if you are anything less than careful, you put yourself in jeopardy even though you may never have gotten near the facts and events that give rise to the investigation.”
From me, in today's Washington Post:
If you work for Trump, it’s time to quit. https://t.co/MgT0CaNmHD
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 18, 2017
It has sailed, unless, you’re cool with going to jail.
Remember Nixon never went to jail but 48 of his flaks did. The President can’t be indicted so long as he remains President. The worst Trump can face is impeachment-which may well happen yet. Only then could he in theory go to jail. Or he gets pardoned just like Nixon did.
As for the GOP agenda.
Trump is currently burning the political capital of the whole GOP on things of value only to him personally, not the party or its voters.
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 18, 2017
That’s it. It doesn’t give Trump more but less political capital for his agenda-and thank God for that.
Sure was a brilliant idea to fire James Comey:
“Trump’s Worst Nightmare Comes True.”
“President Trump fired James Comey. He got his old pal, Robert Mueller, instead—and years of trouble.”
Still, why did he do it? Was it a bad mistake or did he know they were getting close? Of course, thinking that firing the FBI Director would slow it down rather than ratchet it way up was itself a huge boner.
“Under terms of his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller will have wide powers to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and—beyond that—“any matters” that arise from the investigation, including perjury and obstruction of justice.”
“The wide scope suggests an inquiry that is almost certain to last for years, given the history of these sorts of investigations, and will have an unpredictable impact on near year’s congressional midterm elections and the early jockeying in the 2020 presidential campaign. There are likely to be strains between Mueller’s inquiry and those being conducted on Capitol Hill, especially if congressional investigators want to give immunity to targets of Mueller’s investigation in exchange for their testimony, which would complicate the former FBI director hopes of ever obtaining criminal convictions.”
“A senior FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he said he feared retribution from the Trump White House, said the reaction within the bureau to Mueller’s appointment as the special counsel was “jubilation” given the turmoil that followed last week’s decision by Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey. “People are really torn up about what happened to Director Comey—a good man who has treated very badly by the president,” the official said. “The fact that the investigation is now going to be led by Mueller, who is so like Comey in so many ways and who also loves the bureau, is sweet justice.”
Don’t declare war on the FBI.
“A special counsel cuts both ways for Trump, who might want to welcome the invitation given his repeated insistence that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia – “fake news,” as the president keeps tweeting. Given the esteem with which Mueller is held on both sides of the aisle—Republicans universally praised the choice on Wednesday evening—the former FBI director may be one of the few men in America who could convincingly clear the president’s name. (House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz, for one, said he had “impeccable credentials.”)
“But in most respects, the appointment is a nightmare for the White House. From Watergate to Iran-Contra, special prosecutors have tended to conduct investigations that last for years, leading to an endless stream of damaging news stories about documents, subpoenas, and sometimes criminal indictments and even convictions. It would be no surprise, then, if Mueller’s investigation lasted beyond Trump’s presidency. All the while, White House staffers will inevitably be distracted and fearful about being dragged into the maelstrom. Meanwhile, the House and Senate inquiries will be chugging along, with leaky committees providing regular (and often slanted) headlines for eager reporters.”
So we’re getting closer to the Watergate model: Special Counsel-or Special Prosecutor while missing one important piece: a Select Committee.
Not an Independent Commission. This must be repeated because everyone is talking about an IC but that’s not the correct vehicle. Remember the Special Counsel can pursue crimes but not Trump’s crimes. The only legal remedy for Trump is impeachment which an IC is not empowered to do.
Impeachment is a political remedy and must be done by Congress, the political arm via a Select Committee. This point needs to be shouted from rooftops.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.