Jeff Flake has a few weeks left in the Senate, and is seemingly determined to use his time symbolically resisting the president in any way possible, except for any ways that would actually have an effect. Maybe it’s not his fault he’s a gigantic spineless loser—maybe he was just born that way—but here we are.
On Wednesday, Flake announced that he was going to try some extremely Flakey shit in his last few weeks in the Senate, mostly by trying to push through a bipartisan piece of legislation to protect Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.
“We have been told that the bill that Senator [Chris] Coons and I will move to bring up shortly is not necessary, as there have been no indications that the independence of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is in jeopardy,” Flake said, per CNN. “That may have been an arguable position before last week. But it is not arguable anymore.”
The problem here is Flake is just a man, standing in front of the Senate Majority Leader, asking him to vote to pass legislation that would piss off the president. Mitch McConnell’s response, of course, was “uhhh no.”
Undeterred, Flake tried his favorite strategy—threatening to withhold his vote for Republican judicial nominees in an attempt to stall and cover his ass (despite the fact that Republicans don’t need his vote to pass those nominees).
Flake’s not entirely alone in this effort. With the current 51-49 Republican majority in the Senate, he’d only need one other Republican senator to join his protest, and several have said they support the legislation to protect Mueller. That means that everything might come down to Susan Collins voting against a Republican judicial nominee again, and we’ve seen how well that works out.
If by some stroke of luck Flake’s half-assed vote-hostage act works, it could gum up the works for a few weeks; Trump currently has 21 nominees cooling their heels in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee (where Republicans have a 11-10 majority, including Flake), and another 32 waiting for a full Senate floor vote. But as it stands, Flake’s most profound act of resistance to the Trump Administration is retiring and getting his seat swiped by a Democrat.