Only in Washington, D.C. can an official hold a press conference that makes matters even murkier.
Yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller did precisely that as he claimed he never sought to charge the president with obstruction due to a longstanding Office of Legal Counsel technicality that prohibited him from doing so.
Mueller’s statement is a flip-flop from what Attorney General William Barr suggested Mueller claimed during a March 5 meeting, at which several others were present, that Mueller’s decision not to move forward with charges was, in fact, not predicated upon OLC guidance.
The special counsel’s press conference not only set up a “he said, he said” battle between Barr and Mueller, it also tossed a political hot potato squarely into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lap.
The American people have been reticent on impeachment, compared to some of Pelosi’s fellow Democrats who are chomping at the bit to hang the president by his red Trump tie.
Polls indicate well over 50 percent of Americans oppose impeachment proceedings. This comes after support for impeachment among Democrats and independents fell in the spring.
No surprise that within moments of Mueller’s press conference, 2020 Democratic presidential candidates wasted no time letting their desires be known.
However, Pelosi appears to be looking at a broader landscape for 2020.
With the field of Democratic candidates now at a record 24, Democrats aren’t yet united around a single issue. Meantime, President Trump is soaring high, with Gallup predicting he could break 50 percent approval if the economy continues to do well.
The economy has indeed been doing well; that is, until Mueller’s announcement today brought the market down a stunning 409 points before settling at 225 down for the day, signaling what we all know about markets: they don’t like uncertainty.
Another extended battle over the Mueller investigation could drag the markets down and hit voters where it hurts, in their pocketbooks and portfolios, and that of course would hurt candidate Trump in 2020.
This is why American University Professor Allan Lichtman may be right. Democrats may have no other choice but to impeach Trump if they hope to have a snowball’s chance of defeating him in 2020.
Lichtman, who accurately predicted Trump’s victory in 2016, now suggests that impeachment proceedings would provide Democrats with a much-needed “scandal” to take down President Trump at the ballot box. That scandal would also serve to detract from the strong economy that has been Trump’s lynchpin of popularity. Without the ire of impeachment? Lichtman predicts Democrats’ chances against Trump in 2020 are “grim.”
Politicizing impeachment and utilizing it as a weapon would be evil — yet it is not beyond the conscience of a Democratic Party that appears to have recently weaponized America’s intelligence community for its own benefit in the 2016 presidential elections and to tarnish Trump’s first year in office.
As for Pelosi, she clearly laid out her plan on Wednesday during remarks at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
The speaker stated that her caucus will continue down a meticulous path of “Legislating, Investigating and Litigating.” She cited her pleasure at a recent court decision that upholds Congress’ ability to view the president’s personal Deutsche Bank records — a clear sign that Pelosi doesn’t mind a protracted war that includes endless congressional battles, investigations and hearings that just might result in death by a thousand cuts.
Along with the polls, my gut informs me that voters are beyond fatigued by the Democrats’ collusion delusion — but that’s never stopped the politically-adept Pelosi from attempting to win an election for her party. The question is, will her caucus be patient enough to follow her lead?
Jen Kerns (@JenKernsUSA) served as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party; spokeswoman for California’s Proposition 8, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; and as a Fox News writer for the 2016 U.S. presidential debates.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.