Morning Briefing: The White House is Miserable, and That's a Great Thing
As we near the James Comey hearing this morning, we can take solace in this:
As bad as it seems from the outside, the reality is actually much worse.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 8, 2017
The White House is freaking out ahead of the Comey hearings, terrified that Donald Trump — who has nothing on his schedule until noon — will tweet during the hearing, and if he does, he will invariably say something that gets him in trouble. He always does.
RNC warns Trump NOT TO TWEET!!!! pic.twitter.com/Zyw40WC8JY— Naveed Jamali (@CatchaRUSSpy) June 8, 2017
So, keep an eye on Trump’s twitter during the hearings. He will apparently have his legal team around him while tweeting.
One other thing to expect is that Comey will say that he understood Trump to be asking him to drop the Flynn investigation. Donald Trump is on the record as saying he never asked Comey or anyone else any such thing.
“I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn,” Comey will say *under oath* — contradicting Trump https://t.co/ltD8m9GLZN— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 8, 2017
That’s important because …
So Trump surrogates are supposed to say Comey is credible when he agrees he told Trump he wasn't under investigation but not otherwise?— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 8, 2017
In other words, the opposition can’t allow Trump and the White House to believe Comey some of the time, but not all of the time. Here are the RNC talking points:
Got a copy of RNC/Trump talking points to fight Comey, distributed to supporters tonight (complete with gifs!). Here are the main points: pic.twitter.com/cifVPGwUks— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) June 8, 2017
The White House is not only going to scream VINDICATION based on a small, meaningless point — that Comey technically did tell Trump that he wasn’t under investigation three times — but they are going to assert that there was no obstruction of justice because James Comey didn’t feel any actual pressure to impede the investigation (in fact, he didn’t even share the details of his conversations with the team of agents in charge of the investigation, so as not to put them under any pressure). However, how Comey feels is irrelevant. Obstruction of justice depends solely on the President’s actions, and not on how those actions are interpreted by James Comey (or Admiral Rogers or Dan Coats, for that matter).
That is an important legal distinction, but let’s be honest, it’s an irrelevant political distinction. Whatever the law, Republicans will assert that Comey felt no pressure, therefore there was no obstruction of justice. In the end, this is probably going to be a huge day for the media, which will spend the day arguing and spinning and churning out think pieces (myself included), but by this time Saturday, everything will go right back to the way it was: Trump’s slowly shrinking 36 percent base will still love him, Independents will remain suspicious of him, and Democrats will hate him. It’s probably not going to lead to articles of impeachment. What it will hopefully do is shrink that base by another percentage or two, make Independents ever more distrustful of the President, and ultimately make it more difficult for the President to accomplish anything legislatively.
Hopefully, it will also increase Trump’s paranoia, lead to ever more tension in the White House, create more chaos, continue to display how unfit Trump is for the Presidency and give Robert Mueller more to chew on in his investigation, which will hopefully drag on until the midterms when hopefully a Bluer Congress can actually do something about Mueller’s findings.
Indeed, as much as we might love for this to be about impeachment, it’s really going to be about whether Donald Trump has a good day or a bad day, and the more bad days the #resistance can string together, the better chance we have of neutralizing and eventually eliminating the threat. So, temper those expectations, and take comfort in the fact that the White House is going to be miserable today.
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