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Donald Trump Jacob Heilbrunn Liberalism US Politics

Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to his enemies

March 20, 2018

2:14 PM

20 March 2018

2:14 PM

Let’s face it: Donald Trump remains the best thing to happen to his enemies. Former FBI director James Comey’s forthcoming memoir is already an advance Amazon bestseller. Porn star Stormy Daniels is milking her standoff with Trump lawyer and all-purpose fixer Michael Cohen for publicity and earnings; this Sunday she’s slated to appear on CBS’ venerable 60 Minutes show. Cynthia Nixon, the former star of the cable series “Sex and the City” is following in his footsteps by trading on her celebrity and running for Governor of New York. But all of this is just a warmup to the Mueller investigation.

Trump has been breathing fire about Robert Mueller for several days, declaring that the investigation should never have been started. His lawyer John Dowd has suggested that the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe should be followed by a purge of Mueller. But if Trump really does fire Mueller, it will do great things—for the Democrats. A variety of politicians are warning Trump against sacking Robert Mueller, including Senator Lindsey Graham. But if Trump does can Mueller, it may boost the fortunes of the Democrats more than any report that he completes. Democrats might well benefit more in the November midterm elections from a martyr Mueller than one who is permitted to conclude his work unmolested. In ridding himself of Mueller, Trump might inadvertently convict himself more thoroughly than Mueller ever could.

The problem for Trump’s detractors is this: it’s always possible that Mueller will clear Trump of collusion or that his report will never even see the light of day if Attorney General Jeff Sessions declines to release it. Writing in the Washington Post, Nelson W. Cunningham notes that ‘there are substantial legal barriers to a “Mueller Report,” at least one that would see the light of day.’ Any attempt to obtain the release of the report could get tied up in legal challenges that might drag on past November. Cunningham reckons that Mueller will focus on making his case public through indictments.

So far, Trump seems intent on trying to poison the well when it comes to Mueller’s investigation. He’s dipped into his usual bag of tricks, claiming a widespread conspiracy at the FBI and Justice Department to conduct a ‘WITCH HUNT’ to oust him from office. Now he’s hired a veteran Washington lawyer named Joseph diGenova, a member in good standing of right-wing Washington circles, to join his legal team. Aware that Trump treats cable television as a kind of casting call, he auditioned for his job by appearing as often as possible on Fox News, where he made it clear that he sees matters the same way Trump does. He’s declared that attempts to pin down Trump’s actions amount to ‘regicide’. It’s law enforcement, not the Russians, that engaged in a ‘brazen plot’ to meddle in the 2018 election. And so on. For an old warrior like diGenova, who is 72-years-old, Trump has unexpectedly provided him with one more round in the spotlight.

But as Trump careens through Washington, it’s his adversaries who are benefitting the most. He’s singlehandedly created a cottage industry based around assailing him. Will Comey be gracious enough to thank Trump by inviting him to his book party?


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