Maybe it was the ugly TrumpCare showdown. Maybe it was Donald Trump’s attack on their friend Jeff Sessions. Maybe it’s because they’ve concluded his Russia scandal will destroy him one way or the other. Or maybe they simply took a look at his latest new low in the polls. But whatever the reason, this marks the week in which Republicans in Congress have finally decided they want Trump gone well before the midterm races get underway, so they don’t have to defend him. They just want Trump’s ouster not to have their fingerprints on it.
Earlier today, multiple top Republicans in the Senate put their names on new bipartisan legislation which would effectively take away Donald Trump’s ability to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This comes days after the Senate Republican leadership also made clear that if Trump fires Sessions in the hope of having his new Attorney General fire Mueller, they won’t allow Trump to have any new Attorney General. The logic behind all of this is straightforward: Mueller’s investigation, if it’s carried to conclusion, is going to uncover the kinds of smoking guns that will destroy what little is left of Trump’s popularity and viability.
The Republican Party leadership doesn’t want to be seen as leading the charge to oust Donald Trump through impeachment or the 25th Amendment, because this would enrage Trump’s fairly small but highly motivated base. Instead, the GOP is now banking on Robert Mueller doing all the dirty work, exposing Trump as an election rigging traitor and career financial criminal, and getting all the dirt out in the open. They’re hoping at that point maybe Trump resigns to try to avoid prosecution. Or maybe his approval rating simply slips so far into the twenties that the GOP can get away with making the case that it reluctantly has no choice but to oust him.
At this point the Republican Congress is probably going to bed each night hoping it wakes up to headlines that Vladimir Putin has finished Donald Trump off by releasing the Pee Pee Tape. But short of that, the GOP is now content to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller while he destroys Trump by a thousand cuts. The Republicans clearly want Trump gone before the midterm races heat up. They’re just hoping to thread the needle such that Trump’s base doesn’t directly blame them for Trump’s inevitable ouster.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report