The Mueller Report Is Old News, Democrats

POLITICS & POLICY
Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after delivering a statement on his investigation at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., May 29, 2019. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: House Democrats genuinely believe that Robert Mueller’s testimony will be a game-changer in their effort to impeach the president, some ominous news for John Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shares an unbelievable tale from a visit to a Customs and Border Protection facility, and what you need to know about Marianne Williamson.

If Democrats Have to ‘Revive the Stymied Probe of Trump,’ They’ve Already Lost

Over at Bloomberg, Billy House writes, “Robert Mueller will appear grudgingly before House committees this month, but the former special prosecutor’s testimony is the best chance Democrats have to revive their stymied probes of President Donald Trump.”

Mueller has made clear that he said all he has to say in his report. I expect his testimony will consist of repeating what’s in the report, and a lot of answers that begin with,“Well, congressman, as I wrote on page 228 of the report, which I hope everyone has read . . . ”

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House writes, “Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said Mueller’s testimony could have ‘a profound impact,’ simply if he gets the American public to focus on what he said in his 448-page report.” The theory appears to be nothing really happens in American life until someone says it happened on television. But we saw weeks of discussion, analysis, and debate around the Mueller report all over the airwaves, and then Mueller made his brief televised statement. If it was going to rouse a broad uprising of Americans demanding impeachment, it would have happened then.

After Mueller made his brief public remarks, the Marist poll found 22 percent wanted to impeach the president, 25 percent wanted to continue the investigation. The CNN poll found 54 percent oppose impeachment. The Quinnipiac poll found 61 percent saying Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In four hours of Democratic presidential primary debates, only the moderators brought up the Mueller report. This strongly suggests that even among Democratic primary voters, the report has been digested and is effectively “old news.” Undoubtedly most Democratic primary voters support impeachment, but most of them probably supported impeachment before Mueller’s report was released. In fact, probably a chunk of them supported impeachment on January 20, 2017. Liberal activist groups set up an online petition calling for Trump’s impeachment on Inauguration Day, declaring, “From the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the US Constitution.” In mid-March 2017, localities such as Berkeley passed resolutions calling for Trump’s impeachment, and Maxine Waters was tweeting about it. The Democratic party’s appetite for impeachment is not driven by a belief in particular or specific illegal acts by Donald Trump. It is driven by an all-consuming belief that he does not deserve to be president and that the outcome of the 2016 election is an injustice of epic proportions.

Americans know what they have in Trump. They’re not surprised by ethical lapses, a viewpoint that sees the Department of Justice as his own personal legal team, an inability to separate his personal interest from the national interest, a contempt for those investigating him that goes right up to the line, or perhaps over it, into obstruction of justice. They also know that there’s no way that 67 U.S. senators will vote to impeach him. Most importantly, they know that the country is 16 months away from the voters getting the opportunity to offer their own verdict on him. They will offer their verdict on Trump on November 3, 2020.

Separately, House quotes Democratic representative Gerald Connolly of Virginia as saying sarcastically, “As we speak, I have three people in the basement training on how to work the rack. And I’ve got another team that is expert, I am told, at pulling off fingernails.”

(I guess torture and coerced confessions are no laughing matter, until they are. Remember that the next time he’s denouncing interrogation techniques of our intelligence agencies.)

An Ominous Sign for Hickenloopmania

Is the John Hickenlooper presidential campaign in trouble after just one debate? “Campaign manager Brad Komar and national finance director Dan Sorenson have left the campaign. Spokeswoman Lauren Hitt confirmed their departures and said she, too, will exit the campaign in the coming weeks.”

It would be sad, and revealing, if one of the few Democratic candidates to explicitly renounce socialism is the first one forced to end his campaign.

But there’s no way to get around the fact that Hickenlooper didn’t have much of a debate last week, never mind having much of a good debate. If you look at his history as mayor and governor, he’s got an oddball, quirky charm. He seemed more comfortable cutting deals with a Republican-controlled state legislature than with a Democratic-controlled one. He really wanted to keep that post-partisan image, claims to hate negative ads, and doesn’t really have good “attack dog” instincts. This is just not the natural political environment for him, and he certainly doesn’t come across as a “wartime consigliere.”

Rashomon at the El Paso Customs and Border Protection Facilities

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic House members visited Customs and Border Protection Facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas yesterday. Either Ocasio-Cortez or unnamed sources in the CBP are lying about what happened inside.

Ocasio-Cortez’s account:

Just left the 1st CBP facility. I see why CBP officers were being so physically & sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.

Separately, she described, “They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked my on my tour.” Verbally attacked or physically attacked?

Hopefully, in the near future, Ocasio-Cortez will describe the officer who attacked her.

Physically and sexually threatening a member of Congress or attacking her as she’s inspecting a federal facility is spectacularly reckless, not to mention illegal. If this did happen, it would not be the first time someone in a position of power did something spectacularly reckless. But a federal law-enforcement officer choosing to threaten one of the most ubiquitous and relentlessly covered figures in American politics would have to rank among the stupidest actions of all time.

Then there’s this account from the Washington Examiner:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., screamed at federal law enforcement agents “in a threatening manner” during a visit to a Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, and refused to tour the facility, according to two people who witnessed the incident.

A group of 14 House Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, and their aides kicked off their visit to the region at about 11 a.m. MST Monday at the El Paso Station on Hondo Pass Drive.

According to the Examiner article, Ocasio-Cortez “told the group she would not go with the 13 other House Democrats on the tour of the facility and stayed with the family.” For what it’s worth, the accounts of Representatives Joe KennedyMadeline Dean, and Judy Chu consistently describe overcrowded and poor conditions at the child immigration detention facility, and a contentious attitude from the CBP staff there.

But apparently the reception wasn’t entirely hostile. Kennedy told Vice News “one guard tried to take a selfie with New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

ADDENDUM: The odds are good that before last Friday night, you had only the vaguest idea of who Marianne Williamson is. She isn’t likely to be the Democratic nominee or the next president, but she’s a bizarre, fascinating, wild, thoroughly unpredictable figure. Read 20 things about her and prepare to alternate between shock and laughter.

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