Kavanaugh steals the spotlight from Mueller … for now

By BOB FRANKEN

Let’s test our memories: How many recall Robert Mueller? I’ll give you a hint: Second only to President Donald Trump, he has dominated the news since his appointment to lead the investigation into how much Trump and his campaign colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russians to make the 2016 U.S. election swerve Trump’s way. That, however, was before Brett Kavanaugh came along. Kavanaugh’s quest to sail smoothly through Senate confirmation, so he can then navigate the Supreme Court far to the right, suddenly has run aground. Accusations against him of youthful sexual assault, followed by his angry storm of denials, threatened to drown him. It was a whale of a drama that captured our undivided attention. Our attention span can assimilate only one maelstrom at a time, so we were fixated on whether he would sink or stay above water in a Senate that is also sailing the treacherous seas of the midterm elections to decide which party will take the helm.

Those who have missed Bob Mueller probably will have to wait till after the election, but he will come chugging back over the horizon soon enough … actually, all too soon for Trump and his legal team. Still pending for the Mueller investigation are questions about whether The Donald and The Vladimir conspired to shape the 2016 outcome, or whether their designees handled the dirty work. Was there obstruction of justice by him or subordinates to conceal the plotting? Will the president, who correctly views the probe as an existential threat, be emboldened enough by his rage or fear to actually fire Mueller, or perhaps Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has enabled Mueller, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself? Will he fire Sessions, which could have a domino effect that could neutralize Mueller? would he get away with such maneuvers or would there be a mutiny?

The Brett Kavanaugh squall soon will fade into a squalid memory, along with Kavanaugh’s blustery, menacing threats as he angrily maintained that the sexual assault charges are all a politically motivated delusion. However, Donald Trump’s “no collusion” mantra will not be fading anytime soon. He and it will come roaring back as Mueller continues his methodical pursuit, although Mueller’s roar is an eerily quiet one. He has stealthily built his case against the Trumpsters. So far, the glimmers we have gotten have indicated he’s constructing a strong one, brick by brick.

The impact of what he ultimately produces will depend on the upcoming election. If the Democrats don’t blow it, as they usually do, their party can take over the House of Representatives. If they succeed, they probably will initiate impeachment proceedings, particularly if Mueller gives them the slightest excuse. If a president, or anyone, is impeached, then it’s up to the Senate, where two-thirds of the members would have to vote to remove someone from office. It is not possible for the Democrats to achieve a two-thirds Senate majority, but there is an outside chance they’ll get a bare-bones simple majority. So while excising Donald Trump from the White House is a nearly impossible dream for his ardent enemies, a simple majority would be able to stymie his judicial nominations, and for not only the Supremes (if any), but the entire federal judiciary. There would be no more Brett Kavanaughs.

Generating a so-called blue wave to take over both houses of Congress will be a major challenge for the opposition Democrats. Whether they’re up to it is in serious doubt. Their party’s organizational skills are dubious. Tight coordination is all-important when putting together a get-out-the-voters drive. The party has not provided anything or anyone to rally around other than a passionate Trump hatred. The pro-Trump crowds will be out in force, so the antis will need to be revved up. Kavanaugh will live on politically as a definite factor in the midterms. Bob Mueller probably will be quiet. His handiwork should have a huge impact in the upcoming election, two years hence, when we should know how much damage he did to Donald Trump.

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