According to Politico, Moscow Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have become BFF phone buddies. “Though much of the pair’s contact is concealed even from aides, people familiar with the conversations say they speak all the time,” Politico reports, “and there’s been an uptick in recent weeks as the impeachment threat grows more serious.”
It also suggests they’ve made a deal. Trump will lay off of the members of the Republican conference who are critical of Trump (like no more calling Utah’s Mitt Romney a “pompous ass”) and McConnell will make sure that Trump is protected on impeachment. Georgia’s Sen. David Perdue gives the game away. “The president knows [impeachment] is dead on arrival in the Senate,” he said after watching the World Series with Trump and other Republicans.
So, in return, Trump is “largely laying off senators with difficult calculations to make in the coming months, declining to lobby the likes of GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Marco Rubio of Florida, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Johnny Isakson of Georgia,” some of whom are looking particularly vulnerable in 2020. In return, McConnell keeps them in control. Take, for example, the “pompous ass” Romney: “I didn’t notice the tweets,” he insists.
How long McConnell will be able to keep Trump contained is the big unknown. But what he can do is keep his conference under control, to keep the criticism to a minimum and to make sure that the only peep out of those senators’ mouths is their new favorite response on impeachment: “I am very likely to be a juror so to make a predetermined decision on whether or not to convict a president of the United States does not fulfill one’s constitutional responsibilities,” to quote Collins.
Trump has nothing to fear from impeachment as long as McConnell is leader. But McConnell’s leadership might just be in doubt once the nation hears the indictment of Trump and those Republican senators start looking out for number 1.