First we were supposed to be afraid that Donald Trump would find a way to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and somehow magically get away with it. Then we were supposed to be afraid that Trump would magically pardon everyone, even though pardons don’t work that way. Now we’re supposed to be afraid that Trump can somehow simply take Mueller’s final report, run it through a shredder, and no one – not Congress, not the public – will ever know what’s in it.
Donald Trump and his White House love floating these kinds of nonsensical empty threats, in the hope it’ll distract the public from the actual bad things Trump is doing. He knows the media can’t help but take the bait on these threats, and write about them as if they were something he could actually pull off, because fear is great for ratings. But the reality is, nothing works this way.
All that the House Democrats have to do is subpoena Robert Mueller to testify. They can then ask him to read his entire report aloud while he’s testifying. Any classified parts can be done in private hearings, and the rest of it can be done in front of the television cameras in public hearings. Mueller would be legally required to do so, meaning that no mandate from the White House or DOJ could stop. This would allow Mueller to put everything out there, and it would be arguably more effective than if Mueller simply filed his report in an official manner.
This is just the latest empty threat that Donald Trump is trying to use as a method of scaring us into cowering in fear. But these kinds of empty threats only give Trump any leverage if we fall for them. The best way to defeat a serial bluffer is to call him out on it, loudly, and instead focus on stopping him from doing the damage he actually can do to us.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report