Democratic leaders in Congress reportedly have a contingency plan in place if President Donald Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—a decision that was rumored on Friday to be due at any moment. Their brilliant plan: Don’t do anything!
In a meeting with Democratic members, Senator Mark Warner reportedly told his colleagues not to do anything drastic if and when Trump fires Rosenstein, but instead to chill out for awhile, according to the National Journal:
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, told a group of Democratic colleagues on Wednesday that they should adhere to a one- or two-day cooling-off period if Trump fires Rosenstein, according to three congressional sources. Rosenstein met Thursday with Trump amid reports that the White House is preparing an effort to undermine the deputy attorney general’s credibility.
“The first 24 to 48 hours, if and when that happens, we should stay calm; we should do our best to reach out across the aisle and talk to our colleagues and say, ‘Seriously, we cannot allow this to happen.’ Just don’t go immediately to DEFCON-1,” said a member of Congress who attended the meeting but asked for anonymity to discuss it candidly. “We should not say anything—let the dust settle for a minute. What I took from it is it’s better to build a coalition across the aisle than just to come out guns a-blazing saying, ‘We’ve got to impeach him now.’”
Ah yes, the time-tested “cooling-off period”—wait until all the popular outrage and momentum has died down, then... strike! Or don’t! Whatever!
An unnamed Democrat who attended the meeting also told the Journal that they would caution against “banging the drum” for impeachment.
“There are people in our party who, from before he was sworn in, were talking about impeachment,” the member said. “If this happens, we cannot be the crazy people running around. If we want to take back the House, we have to show that we can govern like adults, and if we start banging the drum saying, ‘Impeach, impeach,’ before we even know Exhibit A, forget about it.”
We already know Exhibit A. We also know Exhibits B, C, D, E, F, et cetera. We know that Trump has no qualms about using the Constitution as a coaster for his Diet Coke. We also know that his acolytes within the party will never do anything to substantively challenge him on it, because no matter what they say on the Sunday morning news shows, they like Trump and support he is doing to the country.
Asked whether he had concrete suggestions for the Democrats to prepare for the possibility of Rosenstein being fired—as opposed to just not publicly freaking out—Warner told the site: “All I can say is this has been an unusual week of tweets from this president.”
Damn, looks like we’ve got a true badass on our hands here. Checkmate: Warner.
Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Warner has an unhealthy tendency to overestimate Republicans’ popularity in the country at large, while underestimating how much voters despise Trump. Democrats like Warner believe the Jeff Flakes and the John McCains and the Bob Corkers and the Ben Sasses of the world are Honorable Men because they are nice and friendly to the Mark Warners of the world.
It’s true that Democrats calling en masse for Trump’s impeachment wouldn’t necessarily solve the problems created by a Rosenstein firing. But having your only planned response be to not respond doesn’t inspire much confidence, either. As usual, it seems that Democrats like Warner and his cohort are more concerned with looking like the adults in the room than actually practicing politics.