Thursday, July 25, 2019

The 2020 Election: The One Way to End the Trump Presidency

It's not gonna happen, although this is an excellent piece.

At WaPo, "Democrats are now left with one option to end Trump’s presidency: The 2020 election":

Many Democrats long have considered Robert S. Mueller III a potential savior, as the agent of President Trump’s eventual undoing. Wednesday’s hearings on Capitol Hill probably shattered those illusions once and for all. If Democrats hope to end the Trump presidency, they will have to do so by defeating him at the ballot box in November 2020.

In reality, that has been the case for months. Still, scheduled testimony by the former special counsel before two House committees offered the possibility that he would say something that would suddenly change public perceptions and dramatically jump-start long-stalled prospects for an impeachment inquiry. That was certainly the Democrats’ goal. If anything, things could move in the opposite direction.

Regardless of the evidence of obstruction contained in Mueller’s report, impeachment is a fraught strategy for the Democrats, given public opinion and the dynamics in the Senate. After Wednesday, the prospects for impeachment appear more remote, which means it will be left to the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, with the help of the party, to develop a comprehensive case against the president, one that can win 270 electoral votes. To date, that hasn’t happened.

House Democrats have fumbled in their efforts to hold Trump and his administration accountable, despite promises to do so. Presidential candidates are more focused on one another and playing to their internal constituencies than on organizing the brief against the president to take into the general-election campaign. That remains a major challenge as the contest moves forward.

Next week’s Democratic debate in Detroit will offer the candidates a fresh opportunity to begin to frame the election — the case for their party and the case against Trump — as well as to state or restate their views about impeaching the president. With Mueller’s testimony over, the onus will be on them to show the leadership what rank-and-file Democrats are looking for.

Mueller gave the Democrats some things they wanted. In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, he rebutted Trump’s claim that he was totally exonerated by the report. Not true, Mueller said. Nor, he told the House Intelligence Committee, was his investigation a hoax or a witch hunt, as the president has claimed. And he seemed to suggest that Trump was not charged with obstruction because Justice Department regulations say that a sitting president cannot be indicted and that a president can be charged after leaving office.

But there was some ambiguity surrounding statements about whether Trump would have been indicted absent those regulations. Before the intelligence committee, Mueller corrected his previous comment, noting that the report did not definitively answer the question of whether Trump had committed a crime.

Meanwhile, the rest of Mueller’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee proved a disappointment to any Democrat who thought that he would take up the role of witness for the prosecution. Laurence H. Tribe, a Harvard law professor and impeachment advocate, tweeted Wednesday afternoon: “Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster. Far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired Robert Mueller sucked the life out of it.”

Mueller proved to be a reluctant — and at times shaky — witness. He had warned the Democrats in a brief public statement when he exited the Justice Department in May that he would not go beyond the written report if called to testify...


matism said...
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