Sunday, August 26, 2018


Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, PoliticusUSA, and other left-leaning sites are gleefully quoting this story from Axios's Jonathan Swan:
Congressional Republicans are getting ready for hell. Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that's circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill — including at least one leadership office — that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.

... Here are some of the probes it predicts:
* President Trump’s tax returns

* Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution's emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization

* Trump's dealings with Russia, including the president's preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin

* The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels

* James Comey's firing

* Trump's firing of U.S. attorneys

* Trump's proposed transgender ban for the military

* Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's business dealings

* White House staff's personal email use....
The list goes on. Swan adds,
Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.
I'd like to savor the schadenfreude, but this isn't really a scoop, as Swan claims. He's not exposing a secret that Republicans tried to conceal. Republicans wanted him to publish this story. This is a GOP campaign ad and fund-raising pitch.

It's an extension of a central Republican message for the midterms: If the Democrats take the House, impeachment is inevitable. Headline at Breitbart last week: "Republicans Find Midterm Message: Vote GOP, or Democrats Impeach Trump." Headline last week at FiveThirtyEight: "Republicans Are Talking About Impeachment Way More Than Democrats." Rudy Giuliani recently said, “This election is going to be about impeachment or no impeachment.” Steve Bannon said, “This is a referendum on Trump, up-or-down vote on impeachment. This other side, they’re very motivated – and they’re motivated for one thing: they want to impeach Donald Trump.”

Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats downplay impeachment. So the next-direst warning to GOP voters is: Democrats might not immediately move to impeach Trump, but they're going to investigate the bejeezus out of him -- unless you give, and unless you vote.

Even the bit about Trump being unprepared is part of the message. Trump, to the GOP faithful, is an innocent outsider, unschooled in the sinister ways of Washington. He has no idea what tortures the enemy has in store for him -- unless the voters save him.

I hope Republicans are genuinely afraid. But I know what they're doing here, and it's not (or not merely) bewailing their fate.

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