President Previews How He Plans To Wrap Mueller Investigation Into The Mid-Terms:
This Tweet sets out to accomplish two things:
- Sets a clock ticking from today: everything Mueller does from this point on, according to Trump, is based on a wanton desire by Mueller to undermine the U.S. election.
- Expands Trump’s frequent condemnations of Democrats on Mueller’s team to include the Republicans too, since they “worked 8 years for Obama.” The implication here is truly ludicrous: that Obama somehow brainwashed these dutiful civil servants. And if it’s meant to include Mueller, it’s also a lie: he only served as F.B.I. Director under Obama through 2013.
Politico has an interesting analysis, exhorting people to get ready for a “White Hot Summer”. Their thesis is that Mueller’s going to have to step on the gas pedal in order to wrap far enough ahead of the November elections that he can’t be blamed for interfering. Except Trump now already has.
Also, how does Politico know, since Mueller’s team doesn’t talk or leak? Yes, Trump lawyer and long-time pal Rudy Giuliani says Mueller’s team told him they’d try to be done by September 1st, but can we really trust anything he has to say?
Especially since Mueller’s been working, indefatigably, on his own timetable. So if he still finds himself with work to do, he could just as easily stop the subpoenas and indictments flowing for a couple of months, and then pick right back up again.
Either way, it’s unclear whether either option would hurt or benefit Trump and Republicans. If Mueller wraps up by September 1st, that gives Trump time to do damage control, but also potentially does damage he can’t contain. If Mueller doesn’t, it keeps a “cloud” over Trump’s head, but also potentially alienates and/or energizes voters who resent keeping a “cloud” over Trump’s head.
A Few Related Developments
• The Washington Post reports Rudy Giuliani says Trump might be willing to sit and testify face-to-face with Mueller’s team, but only if he first gets to see the “highly classified” information the F.B.I. and Justice Department shared with several Members of Congress last week. One of those Congresspeople, South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy told Fox News there was nothing in what he was shown to indicate the F.B.I. was out to get or spy on Trump and that: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump“. He also indirectly addressed Trump’s damnation of Republicans on Mueller’s team saying, according to Fox, that Trump “should be ‘heartened’ by the fact all of the top agents in the Justice Department are his own appointees”.
• The New York Times says after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, the President tried to get him to un-recuse himself. Which Sessions wouldn’t do. The Times previously reported Trump lamented Sessions was not doing enough to “protect” him.
• And Trump, at a campaign rally last night in Nashville, called the Democratic Senate candidate in Tennessee, former Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen, a tool of “Chuck and Nancy” and then asserted House Minority Leader Pelosi “Loves MS-13”. Here’s a clip (click on the photo to watch):
If Trump hammers hard on this too hard, it could provide some daylight for Democrats. While “running against Pelosi” regardless of who the Democratic candidate actually is has been a tried-and-true tactic for Republicans for decades (devised by Republican pollster Frank Luntz), it hasn’t worked so well recently. Democrats ably flipped that script in Alabama and Pennsylvania.