Tuesday, July 17, 2018

No Easy Way

Soon after conclusion of the Putin-Trump news conference, Charlie Pierce remarked

The fact is that there is only one constitutional method by which this renegade presidency* can be stifled before the November midterm elections—and it needs to be reined in as quickly as possible. The only available option is to have two or three Republican senators announce that, hereafter, they will caucus and vote with the Democratic minority between now and November.

He recommends Tennessee's Bob Corker and Arizona's Jeff Flake, who both have criticized President Trump and not coincidentally announced their retirement, and Nebraska's Ben Sasse, who has slammed Trump but still, acknowledges Pierce, harbors political ambitions. 

Fed up with the weeping and gnashing of teeth, Steve Schmidt has a similar, though vague, suggestion:

No doubt both

Pierce and Schmidt realize that the members of Team Russia  won't do this. Instead, there will be one or two congressional resolutions, one with no enforcement power, probably expressing support for our nation's intelligence services and criticizing Vladimir Putin. If there is another, it would pertain to support for expanded sanctions, which may or may not be enforceable.

Even providing through legislation additional protection for Special Counsel Robert Mueller- in the unlikely event Mitch McConnell would let it proceed- would be ineffectual.  It would be vetoed y the President and as written does not apply to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who always has been most likely to be fired.

Amidst the periodic speculation about who President Trump is likely to have fired- Mueller, Rosenstein, or Attorney General Sessions, comes valuable information given the credibility of the source, investigative reporter Gabriel Sherman.   There may be no one more pro-Trump than Fox News' Sean Hannity, with whom, Sherman notes, the President speaks. Moreover "Hannity has become a de facto chief adviser/strategist/chief of staff. I mean, he recommends ideas, policy ideas,communications ideas to the president." Sherman reveals

just the other day, I was told by someone who had spoken with Hannity that Hannity has been telling the president that the moment that Robert Mueller issues his report to the Justice Department on the obstruction of justice case that ... he's supposed to deliver this summer prior to the midterm elections, that Hannity has been telling the president that that is the moment he needs to fire Robert Mueller and [Rod] Rosenstein, because he can then go to the public and say, "Oh well, this isn't obstruction. I waited till they delivered the report, and now this witch hunt needs to end."

Although once the report is issued, President Trump's support may be in the gutter, waiting till then or until Repub members of Congress grow a spine may be too late. Will Bunch:

But impeachment & conviction of President Trump leads to President Pence, who then probably would pardon Trump.  The more important objective should be to ensure that Robert Mueller, answering to Rod Rosenstein, be allowed to complete his full report. Lay the record out for Congress and the American people to see. That might not come soon enough for Democrats to gain control of the House of Representatives in 2018.  However, it is the path most likely to damage the GOP beyond 2018 and to lead to the removal from office and indictment of Donald J. Trump. 

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