Strictly speaking, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job isn’t to take down Donald Trump. His job is technically to simply get to the bottom of Trump’s scandals and prosecute the related crimes, which will just happen to have the real world consequence of taking down Donald Trump. Some see that as a distinction without a difference. One way or the other, based on a development that has nothing to do with the Trump-Russia scandal itself, Mueller’s job just got twice as easy.
Donald Trump is so overwhelmingly guilty in so many ways, and so many of his advisers and associates are going to end up flipping on him as a result of their own crimes, there’s only one way Mueller can fail to take Trump down. That’s if the Republican majority in Congress intervenes and sabotages Mueller’s investigation. Aside from the doomed legislative efforts of a few fringe House Republicans, and the personal freakout of Mitch McConnell, it’s appeared all along that the GOP was willing to let Mueller take out the Trump trash on its behalf.
The GOP’s reasoning has been straightforward enough: it doesn’t really want the toxically unpopular Donald Trump to still be in power by the time it gears up for the 2018 midterm races. Nor does the GOP want Trump’s remaining base to blame it for Trump’s demise. So if the Republican Party sits back and allows Mueller to expose Trump’s criminal nature piece by ugly piece, then the GOP can claim that it has no choice but to move on from Trump. If that is indeed the GOP’s strategy, it just became cemented into place tonight.
The race for Governor of Virginia should have been winnable for the Republican Party, yet its candidate ended up losing rather badly tonight. This was clearly a referendum on Donald Trump, and the American public clearly wants him ousted. Now more than ever, the GOP will want Trump gone before the midterms. That makes them twice as willing to sit back and let Robert Mueller destroy Donald Trump for them. The GOP cares more about the midterms than it does about whether Trump sinks or swims.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report