Since May 2017, America’s political class has waited in suspense as FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller pieced together his comprehensive report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. As it draws to a close, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will take more than the results of a probe to unseat President Donald Trump or even weaken his reelection chances.
Fearing the worst, a number of senior DNC figures , including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are distancing themselves. Democratic leadership is finally starting to consider the possibility that the much-awaited results of the probe are, in the words of Donald Trump, a “nothing burger.”
Despite the indictments of former campaign staffers, it turns out that the report will not be the 2019 equivalent of the 1998 Starr Report that nailed Bill Clinton’s role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It is more likely to be a relatively boring summary of campaign law violations by the Trump team. In other words, everyone is probably about to discover that this is boring, real-life politics and not an episode of “The Apprentice” with a dramatic ending.
Confirming that the Mueller report may not be as conclusive as so many Democrats expected, Paul Rosenzweig, who was senior counsel on the Whitewater investigation, recently said :
“I believe that many, including many in the press, have done the country a disservice by creating the impression that when he gets done, Mueller is going to write this scathing, lengthy report detailing what an [expletive] the president is, even if he’s not a criminal. If my thesis about Mueller is right, then that’s just not happening.”
The unduly timid approach of Democrats tackling Trump in his first two years only succeeded in wasting precious political capital. Indeed, if an investigation that took the best part of two years does not result in a solid indictment for the president, then he will be vindicated in his repeated insistence that the entire probe was one big “witch hunt.”
Effectively conceding this point, prominent House Democrat and Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee Elijah Cummings said :
“I have the utmost respect for Mr Mueller; I am accepting of whatever he brings, but that cannot be the end of it.”
Ever the shrewd politician, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has elegantly distanced herself from any efforts to subsequently nail Trump if the Mueller probe passes the “nothing burger” test. Speaking to the Washington Post , she implied that the Democrats’ position all along was not to impeach Trump because of the potential political fallout of such a move.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country. He’s just not worth it.”
In his reaction, Trump’s lawyer and prominent Republican Rudolph Giuliani stated :
“If Mueller could not find anything with his overzealous but skilled, relentless investigators, the F.B.I., a grand jury and a discipline which is unknown to a congressional group, then multiple House Democratic committees will not be a search for the truth but a forum to launch attacks on the president.”
Even for the most ardent liberal voter, at this point, it would be hard to disagree.