Probably not.

On April 2, I wrote here that because the energy (if not the numbers) in the Democratic Party is with those acting out Trump hatred, candidates seeking the nomination feel they have to clobber Trump to be nominated. But, I said, issues, not Trump hatred, yield a win.

When I expressed that opinion, the Mueller report had not been made public in its redacted form. The report has now been around for about a month.

I haven’t changed my mind.

To review, here’s the headnotes version of the state of play:

1. The Judiciary Committee is being dissed by the White House. In the case of subpoenaed former White House Counsel McGahn, he didn’t show up because of the assertion of executive privilege to protect his communications with the President. If he does ultimately appear, he will repeat what the Mueller report says he said and no more.

The Committee says the privilege was waived when the White House let McGahn talk to Mueller. The White House says that any waiver applied to the executive branch, not to the legislative branch.

There are “negotiations” with Robert Mueller and DOJ about his appearance. Similar to McGahn, if he appears, his testimony will surely not go one inch beyond what he said in his report.

Result: litigation.

2. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is being dissed by the White House. An accounting firm has been ordered to turn over Trump data by a District Judge in D.C.. A similar case seeking data from Deutsche Bank is pending in Manhattan with a hearing scheduled for May 22.

Result: litigation.

3. The Ways and Means Committee is being dissed by the Treasury Department. The Committee wants Trump’s tax return pursuant to a statute that says the I.R.S. “shall” turn them over.

Result: litigation.


As predicted, all this Trump resistance has heated up calls to the House leadership to pursue impeachment.

But the leadership wants to win in 2020 and they believe, as I do, that impeachment is a loser. Impeachment proponents who oppose the leadership say that they are impelled to their position by morality and not politics. While that may be honest, if not particularly believable, there isn’t much morality in drubbing this President if it returns him to the White House for four more years.

The litigation now being planned or going forward is a diversion from what really matters. And it may suck a lot of air out of the room as cable news either approves or condemns each hearing and decision. Bad.

What is clear is that impeachment in the House will not result in conviction in the Senate and that impeachment is not approved by the electorate. Winston Churchill wrote of being behind enemy lines as a correspondent in the Boer War as bullets flew all around him. “Nothing,” he wrote, “is so exhilarating as being shot at without effect.”

The many candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for President are mostly “not there yet” on impeachment but some are beginning to cave (Robert “Beto” O’Rourke).

Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, ending a highly successful first three weeks of his run, dealt with the dilemma head on: he both dumped on Trump using audience participation (‘No!” to snatching babies at the border) and urged “unity” and comity. Go figure.

Welcome to politics 2020.