A little land mine next month awaits Democrats' big dream of impeachment
A cornerstone for the Democrats' blue wave strategy, for a lot of them, is the call to impeach President Trump. They do this in appealing to their base rather than to the voters at large (who aren't in for it), because it's the only thing their fractious party agrees on.
Well, guess what: that big impeachment element in whipping up Democratic turnout is, surprise, not going to be as easy as they think it is. In fact, it may be a non-starter.
According to this report from Politico:
A little-noticed court case stemming from the apparent murder of a Columbia University professor six decades ago could keep special counsel Robert Mueller from publishing any information about the Trump campaign and Russia that he obtains through a Washington grand jury.
The substance of the case is entirely unrelated to Mueller's investigation into whether any of President Donald Trump's associates aided Russia's efforts to intervene in the 2016 election.
But if a Washington appeals court set to hear the murder-related case next month sides with the Justice Department and rules that judges don't have the freedom to release grand jury information that is usually kept secret, it could throw a monkey wrench into any plans Mueller has to issue a public report on his probe's findings, lawyers following the issue said.
And it might even keep the special counsel from sending a report to Congress, shaking Democrats' hopes that such a document could provide the impetus for impeachment proceedings against the president.
The Politico reporter, Josh Gerstein, said he asked the Mueller special counsel's office if they were watching this case, and he got confirmation that that they were. This would be of interest to them only if they too had it on their agenda to Get Trump instead of just do their job on the terms of the law. You can draw your own conclusions on that one.
The bad news is that a Democratic Congress (if it is elected) could change the law to its advantage and get the grand jury testimony (and, by extension, the Mueller report) released to the public in order to start its coveted impeachment proceedings.
The good news is that the case will be decided upon by a rare Republican panel of judges, something that is no guarantee that it will go Trump's way, given the preponderance of #NeverTrumps in the Washington swamp, and the fact that Republicans, unlike their leftist counterparts, often actually try to interpret the law as it's written. But there is a chance, unlike if it were a leftist panel, that the judges will uphold precedent, and that would mean President Trump gets to read the Mueller report instead of the partisan crazies desperate for impeachment in a Democratic Congress. Politico reports that the case will be decided next month.
If it goes the right way, it would mean "bye, bye" impeachment for Democrats as their magic turn-out-the-vote issue and a decisive end to the blue wave, given that Democratic voters won't be so motivated to turn out.
Maybe things aren't all that bleak for President Trump. This could be another black swan of luck for him – and relief for Republicans that the revolution will go on.