Robert Mueller’s lucky day

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been doing a smart, aggressive, and professional job in investigating Donald Trump’s confoundingly complex Russia scandal. He’s moving more quickly than most legal experts thought possible. He’s already arrested four of Trump’s co-conspirators and notched plea deals with two of them. But even the most capable of people sometimes need luck on their side. Today is Mueller’s lucky day.

The government shutdown is not good for America by any objective measure. Essential government services are no longer functional. DACA and CHIP still remain unresolved. But the shutdown is in fact good news for Robert Mueller. Why? It’s a distraction. Trump can only seem to focus his obsessive rage at one target at a time. Back in December, he and his remaining allies in Congress seemed to be largely focused on smearing Mueller, in the hope of sabotaging the investigation and invalidating its ultimate findings. Now it’s a different ballgame.

Based on his tweets alone, it’s clear that Trump is now focusing his anger at his opponents in the shutdown. He’s tweeting toxic garbage about the Democrats, falsely blaming them for the shutdown, even though his own Republican Party has majority control in Congress. Perhaps more importantly, his allies in Congress are also now knee deep in the fallout from the shutdown. There simply isn’t time for Trump and his goons to focus on Robert Mueller right now.

That means Mueller is free to continue his work unabated. He doesn’t have to keep one eye on Trump’s mood. He doesn’t have to plot his moves around the possibility that Trump will snap and try to fire him. Mueller is free to just plow ahead and move that much closer to nailing Donald Trump for an endless list of crimes, even as Trump plays Twitter footsie with the wrong opponent.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report