The political gameplan
The political gameplan
Let’s hope the showboating congresspeople are listening to their staff:
Knowing that the public itself is likely anticipating a Mueller bombshell, advisers working for the committees have tried to dampen down expectations that one will be delivered, telling lawmakers over the last several weeks that Mueller is unlikely to engage in questioning that touches on subjects outside the scope of the report. Each Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee has been through one-on-one sessions with committee staff, Lieu told The Daily Beast. The sessions are designed to keep the party on script so that they can spotlight five specific instances of possible obstruction of justice laid out in Mueller’s report.
On Tuesday, Judiciary Democrats are set to stage a mock Mueller hearing behind closed doors to further solidify that game plan. A request for comment as to who was playing the role of Mueller was not returned.
“I think this is an opportunity,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a Judiciary Committee member, told The Daily Beast, “and we want to do it in a very organized way so that the story, the narrative, of a president who attempted repeatedly to undermine, stop, prevent the investigation from continuing and committed acts of obstruction of justice, that the American people at the end of the hearing have a full understanding of the very serious findings of the special counsel.”
“I think this is an opportunity, and we want to do it in a very organized way so that the story, the narrative, of a president who attempted repeatedly to undermine, stop, prevent the investigation from continuing and committed acts of obstruction of justice, that the American people at the end of the hearing have a full understanding of the very serious findings of the special counsel.”
Democratic aides, meanwhile, say they’ve been working with lawyers to study Mueller’s testimony style. He doesn’t speak in long sentences, those aides said, and he rarely expands on his answers. One Democrat put it this way when asked about preparation: “Questioning Mueller is a science. And unless you know your subject, and all the intricacies of how it works, you’re not going to ace the test.”
Acing that test, the theory goes, might spark the public to put more pressure on Democratic lawmakers to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump. The timing, at least, lines up well. Just two days after Mueller’s hearing, House members will return home for the five-week August recess, which usually means lots of constituent meetings and town halls. If members get an earful in their districts, said Cicilline, it “may encourage some people to come back and support the notion of beginning an impeachment inquiry.”
Currently, 90 House Democrats—almost 40 percent of the conference—openly back an impeachment inquiry. It’s widely expected on Capitol Hill that Mueller’s testimony will push a number of lawmakers off the fence and swell the ranks of the pro-impeachment caucus.
If they do this right, it could be a game changer.
But let’s not forget about the Republicans who are going to do everything they can to turn this into an epic shitshow.
*By the way, Lindsey Graham is going to hold his own hearings into the George Papadapoulos FISA scandal. Never say they don’t care about oversight.