Pence to Mueller: Wrap it up, buddy
Some of the hashtag-Resistance are grumbling about this today. Didn’t we just find out that Mueller interviewed Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg about the half a million bucks he shoveled at Michael Cohen after the election? There’s still plenty of scandal gold to be mined in them thar hills.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 10, 2018
But it’s also true that the public is gradually growing impatient with the investigation. Ed noted a poll a few days ago showing that a majority of the public now thinks the probe is politically motivated rather than justified on the merits. A different poll conducted in late April found the share of Americans who think the probe should continue is down six points from March, from 60 percent to 54. Still a majority in favor, but a dwindling one. And midterm pressures will doubtless tilt even more Republicans, fearing a Mueller-related October surprise, into the “end it now” column.
In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported a few days ago that Mueller’s investigation will be expected to wrap up or “go dark” for the midterms soon, precisely because no one wants the special counsel to pull a Comey with some bombshell revelation 10 days before Americans go to vote. And it’s not just the midterms to worry about: It occurred to me this morning when Trump announced that he’d meet Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore that any major revelations from Mueller in the interim could screw up that summit royally. If he issue a report concluding that Trump obstructed justice, for instance, the North Koreans might wonder if POTUS is about to be impeached and therefore any concessions he makes at the summit are worthless. Or, of course, Trump could fly off the handle and fire Mueller, lighting a political fire that would burn unpredictably all the way to, through, and past his summit with Kim.
One week from today will be the one-year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. (Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Comey’s firing.) Is he going to show any cards before then, at least on obstruction? How can he when there’s still some vague hope of him interviewing Trump? There’s no end in sight to any part of this, at least until Trump either gives him an interview or declares definitively that there won’t be one. And even then, Mueller might decide to subpoena him and fight an extended court battle over the president’s legal obligations to appear before a grand jury instead of declaring the obstruction probe over and publishing whatever he’s got.
Here’s Trump-booster-turned-Resistance-fighter Joe Scarborough insinuating that Pence himself might end up snared in Russiagate and that’s why he wants the probe to end. Meh — there’s no reason to think Pence is corrupt. He’s just doing what he thinks his position requires, amplifying Trump’s message whenever Trump wants it amplified. To some that makes him the worst person in government. To me it makes him, well, vice president.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) May 10, 2018