A couple of weeks ago, when I received a news alert on my phone stating the Mueller investigation – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into the Trump administration and campaign to determine whether there was collusion with Russia – had been concluded, I turned to my wife and made a prediction.
I told her that within a couple of days President Trump would be claiming victory, proclaiming how the investigation had shown, as he had been saying all along that it would, there was absolutely no collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
I also predicted many Democrats would say the equivalent of not so fast; there is plenty more to the story; of course the Attorney General, a Trump appointee, is going to be biased as he communicates the findings in the report; and so on and so on.
I’m not often correct in predicting things, whether it’s election outcomes or the teams that will make the Final Four (how many of us picked Texas Tech or Auburn, for heaven’s sake?!), but on this one I was accurate as to both sides’ reactions.
But before you call me a prophet, you must admit it was not that difficult. Throughout the Mueller investigation, it was easy to deduce that yes, the Russians interfered in the 2016 election and tried to keep Hillary Clinton from being elected, and Trump operatives were more than likely aware of it and probably gleeful about it. But there would not be enough there to unequivocally prove the Trump folks were, figuratively speaking, in bed with the Russians.
That’s pretty much what happened (not enough there), and certain Democrats were, and are, very disappointed. For quite some time, this has been their ace in the hole, the one thing they knew would finally bring down Trump. They want to see the entire report and parse those words for themselves and not depend an Attorney General Robert Barr to tell them what it says.
To be sure, there were casualties along the way. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, is headed for prison, as is a former consultant, Paul Manafort. These guys were already questionable, and Mueller’s team dug up enough to send them away for a significant amount of time.
And poor Jeff Sessions, the now former Attorney General, was finally scooted along from his job after months of public haranguing by his boss. Sessions, a former Alabama senator, had been an early supporter of Trump’s when others in the GOP were still horrified at a Trump nomination or, even worse, a Trump presidency. Sessions was rewarded for his devotion with the AG appointment.
But he and Trump got cross-ways after Sessions recused himself from any investigations into the Russia matter, he himself having twice met with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. after denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. Trump made no secret of his disdain for him and finally, mercifully, Sessions “resigned” last November.
But the mocking has continued, and I mean that in the literal sense. In a March speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Trump mimicked his former Attorney General and his southern drawl, to the delight of the partisan crowd, recounting how Sessions said, “I’m gonna recuse myself.”
But while some are going to jail and others were sent on their way, Trump and his top people are, for now, golden, according to his assessment of the situation.
So what happens now?
Well, since I have had such success at predictions recently, I’ll venture a guess Trump will continue to see the Mueller report as a vote of confidence and remind us of that from time to time. He will push other agenda items such as the border wall.
The Democrats will probably hold hearings. They will push for the release of the entire Mueller report and if they get it, they will spend untold hours going over every word. Since the report was apparently “inconclusive” about obstruction of justice, they will have lawyers concentrating on that part. They’ll continue to talk about impeachment.
Even before the conclusion of the Mueller report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump is “not worth it” when she was asked about impeachment, implicitly saying there are ways she and her colleagues could better spend their time.
Because like it or not, they simply don’t have enough goods on Trump to end his presidency, and Pelosi is smart enough to see that.
I am not as certain about which of the nearly 20 Democratic candidates who have declared for 2020 will start rising to the top.
Joe Biden is running into some problems with the way he has touched women, or is perceived to have touched them, in the past. Some of the other hopefuls are so far to the left that it would seem to me some considerable thought would need to be given as to just what type of candidate the Dems are wanting to put up against the likely GOP candidate and incumbent Trump.
So as for any other predictions, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.