With the decisive midterm elections just months away, Democrats are finally rolling out a long-awaited jobs program in hopes of wooing disaffected, working-class voters back to their party this November.
Their message is sure to win the hearts and minds of millions of blue-collar workers in the heartland who abandoned the party in 2016 to vote for Donald Trump. It is unflinching in its commitment to protect the most vulnerable employees—those who are at-risk of having their jobs taken away on a whim by powerful forces—and rendered unable to pay their bills or find other work.
It is “The Special Counsel Independence Protection Act.” Or, as I prefer to call it, the Robert Mueller Job Protection Act.
What, you say? You thought this effort would target steelworkers or coal miners or tradesmen who are struggling to find work? You hoped this would appeal to small business owners who are drowning under rising healthcare costs and expensive federal regulations? You expected a compelling plan from party leaders desperate to take control of Congress next year that would earn back voters in the 206 counties that flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016?
Oh, LOL! You don’t think Democrats actually give a rip about the deplorables in “backward” areas of the country where nothing ever happens and no one of value lives, do you? As Hillary Clinton just reminded us, Democrats are all about serving our betters in “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving-forward” areas of the country. You losers in Mattoon, Illinois? Suck it.
These brave warriors are charging the Trump Tower at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to defend Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his merry band of Democrat donors, er, investigators, and make sure their jobs are protected ad infinitum. Despite the obvious vicissitude of the Mueller investigation—which has yet to find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Putin regime before the presidential election—bold coastal liberals are staking their political fortunes on the taxpayer-funded probe they have wagered will destroy Trump’s presidency.
Although the legislation was introduced last year and has since stalled, Democrats are re-upping their plea after President Trump tweeted about Mueller over the weekend. In response, Senator Christopher Coons (D-Del.) issued this statement:
I understand that many of my colleagues don’t believe that President Trump will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without cause, and some have cited that as their reason for not backing the legislation I’ve introduced. Unfortunately, the statements and actions from the President and his lawyer over the weekend have led me to believe that the Special Counsel is now at real, immediate risk of being removed, and I believe the Senate needs to pass legislation to ensure that does not happen.
Senator and Hillary 2016 sidekick Tim Kaine of Virginia said, “We need to do everything we can in Congress to protect the Mueller investigation. We talked to Republicans and we’re going to do everything we can to protect it.” (Kaine also claimed Trump fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to “screw up” the investigation. A quick “amen” this guy isn’t vice president.)
When asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos what would happen if Trump fired Mueller, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) replied: “I hope it would prompt all Democrats and Republicans in the House to pass an independent counsel law and reinstate Bob Mueller. I think Democrats and Republicans need to speak out about this right now.”
Other Democratic leaders including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) all have tweeted out their commitment to the Robert Mueller Job Protection Act. And what if the Trump-Russia collusion gumshoes are tossed out of the Justice Department building and forced to return to their brownstones in Georgetown? There could be blood in the streets. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, “If the president does go ahead and fire Robert Mueller, we would have people take to the streets. I believe there would be widespread civil unrest.”
But these heroes are not fighting alone: Their political soul sisters, NeverTrump Republicans, are joining the rogue army of patriots to challenge lawmakers in the party they pretend to belong to, and demand that congressional Republicans safeguard the Mueller investigation. NeverTrumpers have issued two missives since last year, demanding that Mueller be spared, while willfully overlooking misconduct at the highest level of the Obama Justice Department related to the Trump-Russia ruse. (None have publicly supported congressional requests for a second special counsel.)
After Trump’s tweets, the de facto leader of NeverTrump, Weekly Standard editor-at-large-and-getting-larger Bill Kristol, tweeted this:
To Republicans who have carefully kept your powder dry, who have studiously maintained access to Trump and credibility with Trump supporters: You’re not being asked to do much. Just step up and say, “Mr. President: Respect the rule of law. Leave the Mueller investigation alone.”
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 18, 2018
Kristol, always the shrew political-mastermind, offered this strategy:
If Freedom Caucus opposes the omnibus, then Ryan will need Democratic votes. And of course McConnell needs Dems to get to 60. You’d think Dems might be tempted to insist on a vote on adding an amendment supporting the independence and continuation of the Mueller investigation.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 18, 2018
The Washington Post’s resident NeverTrump lunatic Jennifer Rubin claimed, “Republicans have been too afraid to pass legislation protecting Mueller, and they have lamely accepted everything from the vengeful firing of former deputy director Andrew McCabe less than two days before his retirement to smears on the FBI to threats against former FBI director James B. Comey.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Mueller’s ouster would be “the beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency and pledged “to the American people, as a Republican, to make sure Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference. I think he’s doing a good job.”
So, how would this Robert Mueller Job Protection Act work? Over at Lawfare, a blog tied to the left-leaning Brookings Institution, Steve Vladeck offers a good explainer. In his article, “It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Mueller Protection Bills” (I like my title better), Vladeck challenged lawmakers to “put their money where their mouths are”:
Rather than spouting empty platitudes on Twitter and the Sunday shows, they could pass the pending, bipartisan legislation that would make it all-but-impossible for Mueller to be fired without good cause.
Here’s basically how it would work: Right now, the only guy who can legally fire Mueller is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because Attorney General Jeff Sessions needlessly recused himself. Under the bill, Mueller’s dismissal must be based on “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”
If for some reason, Rosenstein caved to pressure by Trump, or Rosenstein was replaced and his successor subsequently ended the investigation, Mueller would have no recourse.
But the legislation would offer Mueller a reprieve in the form of court intervention, which Vladeck calls a “no-brainer” despite legitimate constitutional concerns. He explains that Mueller could “challenge his termination before a D.C. district court. That three-judge court, in turn, would be able to decide if the substantive standard set out in the law had been satisfied. Like all other decisions by three-judge district courts, whoever loses would have a right of mandatory appeal directly to the Supreme Court.”
Well, doesn’t that sound fun?
Count me as someone who wants these folks to heed Vladeck’s call and consider the Robert Mueller Job Protection Act. I agree with Vladeck that lawmakers should be on record, and not get away with grandstanding on social media or cable news shows: Schiff, Schumer, Feinstein, and Graham should spend lots of time on this issue then explain to their skeptical constituents—most of whom believe “appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government” according to a new poll out this week—how empowering unelected prosecutors and federal judges to run political investigations at taxpayer expense is just a swell idea.
And let everyone else, including the president, worry about the issues that matter most to actual people outside the Beltway, like securing jobs for people without law degrees and political pedigrees.
Photo credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call