When he testifies tomorrow before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, it’s expected that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will hew closely to the report he filed back in April, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant dangers to President Donald Trump when Mueller begins answering questions from the two committees.
Though he didn’t seek an indictment against the president (because Department of Justice policy said he couldn’t), Mueller did indeed find plenty of evidence that suggests Trump was in constant contact with Russia via surrogates during the 2016 election and also sought to obstruct justice as Mueller was involved in developing his case over the course of his investigation.
Make no mistake, Mueller can still do severe damage to the president, as Greg Sargent notes in The Washington Post:
“In this scenario, Mueller would state clearly that Trump and his advisers eagerly expected to gain from a massive foreign attack on our political system designed to elect Trump. That Trump World repeatedly sought to coordinate with those efforts, in the full knowledge of who was behind them. That Trump secretly pursued a lucrative real estate deal with Kremlin involvement while voters picked the GOP nominee. That Trump and his advisers repeatedly lied to cover all of this up.”
That alone would blow Trump’s constant claims of “no collusion” right out of the water. Collusion is not even a crime, so how could there have been any? As you’d expect, Trump is silent on that because it doesn’t bolster his bogus assertions.
And then we come to obstruction of justice, where the most damning evidence lies. Again, Sargent spells out how that alone could prove to be a big problem for the president:
“On obstruction, Mueller would also state clearly that Trump ordered his White House counsel to fire Mueller, then pushed him to actively cover that up. That Trump tried to get his former campaign chair to not cooperate with the investigation. That Trump ordered a top campaign official to tell his then-attorney general to severely restrict the probe. That Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty and urged him to go easy on his national security adviser, before firing Comey after that loyalty wasn’t forthcoming.”
Those two points — reaching out to Russia and obstructing the investigation — are more than enough to begin the impeachment of Donald Trump.
A few carefully worded questions about Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice could be enough to move the polls on support for an impeachment inquiry:
“Mueller did establish multiple acts of obstruction that were undertaken with corrupt intent.
“If Democrats can get Mueller to repeat this basic fact set, that itself could be powerful.”
Obstruction and corruption. That’s where the case against Trump is strongest. After Mueller is finished testifying tomorrow, don’t be the least bit surprised if there are immediate calls for impeachment from dozens of members of Congress. The evidence will be in plain sight. All that will remain is taking a vote in the House to start with impeachment.
And Trump will lose that vote.