It is all anyone can talk about in The Swamp, and few have anything positive to say.
For all of the mewling and hand wringing that takes place whenever there is a government shutdown, it appears that D.C. is in the midst of a self-imposed governmental closure. For the past few days, the government at least appears in stasis, as the focus is swelling on speculation when Robert Mueller will release his long-in-the-works investigation into Russian collusion during the 2016 Presidential race.
You get a sense that politicians and members of the press have become conditioned to tracking package arrivals through Amazon, and an unconfirmed landing date of the Mueller probe has them in a state of discomfiture. Last night, while out with friends, the establishment I was at had one TV dedicated to CNN. Hours were spent on its coverage of the impending report, at times even staging a panel of pundits — all over non-news. There was nothing to report, and all you saw was perpetual speculation.
Increasingly, that speculation is turning dour for the Dems. In the past weeks, you have seen comments from pols and pundits which took on a more somber tone and gently edged discussions towards other potential flashpoint subjects involving President Trump. Just one example mentioned here yesterday, Katie Tur has begun her attempt at turning the monolithic collusion barge around.
“They’ve already come up with quite a bit, regardless of whether there or not there is direct collusion or conspiracy found between Donald Trump and his campaign, and the Russians.”
We also had a peek into the shift of attitudes on the Hill a couple of weeks ago during the Michael Cohen testimony. In the course of that one hearing, we saw the gradual dawning in the chamber that there were no more Russian details to be extracted out of the Barrister from the Bronx. By the end of his interrogation, you saw the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delving into financial and tax matters, and implying Democrats should begin subpoenaing personal records of the President.
The witch hunt had begun to morph into a fishing expedition. Notice in the past couple of months how we have begun to see news reports concerning numerous other issues that could be mined for salacious evidence; Trump’s taxes, his past fudging of his asset declarations, possible fraud in trying to purchase an NFL franchise, security clearance issues in the White House, and any other questionable acts are suddenly of grave import.
Note, too, today we get this headline from Brian Faler: “Some Democrats want more than just Trump’s personal tax returns” [ subheading ] Trump’s business returns could reveal much, much more.” So Democrats have moved the investigations on, from looking into supposed crime to now conducting investigations to see if they can find a crime.
Politico this morning declares that many Democrats are of weak hope Mueller is primed to deliver their bounty of needed evidence. “If you talk to Capitol Hill Democrats privately, you will hear something surprising about what they expect from Robert Mueller: Many of them expect absolutely nothing. Several top Democratic lawmakers and aides tell us privately that they are certain the report will be a dud.”
This sentence carries a bit more heft than simply the realization there is little to be gained from the coming report. Note the tacit admission that off the record Democrats acknowledge there is nothing there. However once positioned in front of cameras or seated on a news net panel the “Russian Probe” remains a dire threat to our democracy.
That is because they need the specter of illegality. They have crossed over the demarcation of being able to realistically (in their fantasy-driven minds) have President Trump removed from the White House. However, now they are ramping up bids for the 2020 election, so the whiff of anything scandalous or disqualifying is needed for campaign fodder.
Their primary excuse to force out Trump and weaken the GOP is proving to be impotent. Their next solution is to attempt to invalidate him in any way possible and turn him vulnerable as a Presidential opponent. So far though those campaign efforts appear to be little more than “Well, we all know he’s done bad stuff, we just haven’t been able to prove it — yet!”
Prepare yourself for close to two years of political pasta being flung at walls.
** for more entertainment, political, or bad movie content follow me on Twitter @MartiniShark