Special counsel Robert Mueller is set to emerge from his midterm campaign hibernation period with a powerful new ally as House Democrats surged back to the majority in Tuesday’s elections.
The lead Russia investigator, who in the days and weeks ahead has a series of important court hearings and key sentencing deadlines for cooperating witnesses, will soon have a friendly audience of Democratic chairmen on one end of Capitol Hill who are primed with subpoena power to fight the White House if it tries to block the public release of his final report examining any potential connections between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Kremlin-sponsored hackers.
House Democrats say they’re also ready to act as a backstop if Trump follows through on more than 18 months of pent-up angst and fires Mueller or tries to meddle with the special counsel’s work through a major shakeup at the Justice Department.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has already pledged to make sure Mueller’s “documentation is preserved” and the likely next House speaker also holds in her back pocket the threat of launching impeachment hearings against Trump if the president tries to oust Mueller or if the special counsel’s investigators ultimately uncover a smoking gun involving criminal behavior.
Democrats are even prepping a break-glass scenario in case there’s a Nixon-era Saturday Night Massacre during which Trump fires his current DOJ leadership and tries to shutter the Mueller probe in the process. If that happens, senior Democratic officials say Mueller would likely get an immediate summons to Capitol Hill for nationally televised testimony about his findings. [Continue reading…]