Donald Trump and Republicans are getting ready to claim victory whenever Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation winds down. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Mueller to indict a sitting president, but Team Trump will spin anything short of an indictment as a win for Trump, proof that he did nothing wrong and that House Democrats should therefore stop investigating.
According to the AP, “Trump has told his inner circle that, if the report is underwhelming, he will use Twitter and interviews to gloat over the findings, complain about the probe’s cost and depict the entire investigation as an attempt to obstruct his agenda, according to advisers and confidants.” But that requires neither sources nor a crystal ball—of course it’s what Trump would do.
And talk about moving the goalposts! The Mueller investigation has brought charges against six of Trump’s (now-former) associates. His former campaign chair is going to prison. His longtime personal lawyer and fixer pleaded guilty to a whole lot of stuff, directly implicated him in campaign finance violations, and is going to prison. His former deputy campaign manager pleaded guilty to two counts and has cooperated with the investigation. His former national security adviser pleaded guilty on one count and cooperated. It is beyond clear that Russia did indeed work for Trump’s victory. This is not underwhelming! This is corruption on a historic level.
Even with Trump’s sustained campaign against Mueller—a campaign Mueller hasn’t bothered to try to counter with anything but solid investigative work and prosecutions—57 percent of Americans say Mueller is interested in finding out the truth, not in hurting Trump politically. (And he’s a registered Republican, so why would that be his goal?)
Mueller probably can’t indict Trump under existing rules. But if Mueller doesn’t indict Trump, Trump will declare victory. What’s the word? … Rigged, maybe? And that’s one of the many reasons House Democrats do need to keep investigating Trump. That and the fact that it’s their job. And that, as House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff points out, Mueller’s investigation does not appear to have fully delved into questions about Trump and money laundering.
So, yeah. Donald Trump will claim victory. And it’ll be as false as anything else Trump says.