Special Counsel Robert Mueller has cut a plea deal with Michael Flynn, who in return will provide sufficient evidence to prove Donald Trump and Jared Kushner guilty of serious crimes. Mueller will end up cutting a deal with Kushner which will provide proof of even more crimes committed by Trump. Now that we’re nearing that point, it’s time to talk about what comes next. It’s complex, and widely misunderstood, but it is ultimately understandable.
There are two groups within the anti-Trump resistance who each have a fundamental understanding of how this process works. One faction mistakenly thinks that if Mueller uncovers certain evidence, or accuses Trump of a certain crime, impeachment hearings will be automatically forced to begin. Check the Constitution; that’s not how anything works. The other faction believes that no matter how much proof Mueller amasses of Trump’s guilt, the Republican Congress will protect him no matter what. Check the realities of politics; that’s not how anything works either.
Impeachment is entirely a political process. Despite the nonstop false claims of fantasizers on Twitter, there is nothing that can legally force Congress to begin impeachment hearings. Again, literally nothing. Thus Robert Mueller’s job is to sell the American public on the severity and proof of Trump’s crimes. He won’t do this by giving speeches or appearing on television. He’ll do it through the testimony of cooperating witnesses, and likely a series of indictments against Trump that he’ll take as far as the Supreme Court allows him to.
By the time Mueller is finished, he’ll have proven to the public that Donald Trump is guilty of a series of profound crimes. By that time Trump’s approval rating will be even lower than it is now. Despite the claims of pessimists within the resistance, many (though certainly not all) of Trump’s supporters will give up on him. Trump has already lost twelve points off his approval rating since January, which means that he’s already lost millions of supporters as he’s unraveled and looked incrementally guiltier as the year has gone on. Therefore he will lose even more as Mueller makes things even uglier for him.
The Republicans in Congress cannot be counted on to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing. They won’t dump Donald Trump because they see proof that he’s guilty and they suddenly grow a conscience. But at the same time, when the Republicans in Congress do the wrong thing, they don’t do it just for fun. They’re calculating schemers, and they only care about themselves. There has always been a threshold at which they will force Trump out in order to try to preserve their own chances of getting reelected in the 2018 midterms. It’s only ever been a question of whether that threshold would be reached.
In real world terms, Robert Mueller’s job is to dismantle Donald Trump and his entire crime syndicate for all to see, such that the American people leave the Republican Congress with no choice but to oust Trump for fear of getting wiped out in the midterms. Again, the most clueless people in all of politics are those who think the Republicans in Congress are stupid enough to cost themselves reelection by trying to protect Trump once they know he’s toast. They couldn’t care less about Trump’s fate; they only care about their own.
Mueller knows this. He’s been beating a path toward Jared Kushner all along for a reason. He knows that Kushner is the only member of the Trump family who’s willing to flip on Trump to save himself, and he knows that Kushner is uniquely vulnerable due to the activities he’s been tied to. Once Kushner flips, Mueller will be able to prove for all to see that Trump is a career criminal and traitor. That will push his approval rating so low that the Republicans will have no choice but to dump him in the hope of getting themselves reelected. Again, the GOP only cares about getting reelected, and not at all about Trump.
If the Republicans in Congress don’t move to oust Trump after Mueller has fully exposed him, it will only be because they mistakenly calculated that keeping Trump in power gave them the best chance of reelection (again, their decision will 100% based on their own chances of reelection, and literally no other factors). In such case, the Democrats will take the majority in the 2018 midterms, and immediately begin impeachment hearings. But that’s the unlikely scenario. The most likely outcome is that the GOP concludes it has no political choice but to oust Trump, and forces him out. At no point will the decision be about right or wrong. It will only come down to the GOP being its selfish self. It’s why they’ll dump Trump once they realize it’s their only shot at reelection.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report