(Thread) Mueller’s Testimony: What [not] to expect
Mueller already said he will stay within the four corners of the report, and I’m sure he knows the DOJ directive doesn’t bind him, so I don’t expect the DOJ directive to make much difference.
1/ Good Democratic questions will showcase Trump’s crimes and behavior that makes him unfit for office.
These, from @neal_katyal are nice and crisp:
2/ I also like Comey’s wording, “Did you find substantial evidence of obstruction?”
There WAS substantial evidence, so Mueller can say “yes” without saying “Yes, Trump committed a crime." (The standard for conviction is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”)
3/ But Remember, Republicans will also be asking questions. They have different goals.
They'll try to:
💠Obscure the truth,
💠Focus on Mueller’s finding that he didn’t have enough evidence to charge criminal conspiracy, and
💠Undermine the investigation's validity & integrity.
4/ The question is: How successful will the GOP be in undermining whatever truth comes out of the questioning?
Tribe is correct:
Mueller’s testimony might cause a 180 turn.
It also might not.
5/ We all know the reasons Mueller’s testimony might cause a 180 turn.
Trump and Barr managed to control the national conversation about the Mueller report, and most people don’t know what it contains.
Getting the truth out there should change the game (as with Nixon).
6/ But . . . there are 2 reasons we can’t compare 2019 to the Nixon era.
#1: During Nixon’s time, right wing authoritarians did not yet have complete control over the GOP. The GOP was still largely conservative.
For how the GOP changed since 1972, see👇
7/ There are differences between conservatives and authoritarians.
In Nixon’s era, the GOP was (largely) unwilling to stand by Nixon when his lawbreaking became public.
There were some Republicans in Nixon’s era who were. They were furious that Nixon didn’t continue fighting.
8/ One was Roger Stone, who believed Nixon was a “victim of the elitist hypocrites in the press, the Democratic Congress and the special counsel’s office that brought him to ruin in 1974.”
9/ This brings us to the second reason we can’t compare 2019 to the Nixon era:
#2: Nixon didn’t have Fox News and right wing media.
Fox News was born because the far right wing thought Nixon could have survived if they had their own media.
10/ Jen Burk asks:
💠We have to lower our expectations that putting the truth out there will cause a 180 turn, and
💠We each have to work harder and be more productive.
11/ About 42% of the people seem to support Trump no matter what.
About 52% seem to disapprove of Trump no matter what.
The question is: Who are those others? Are they under a rock? Will Mueller’s testimony wake them up?
It might. It should.
12/ Notice Tribe says “has the potential,” not “absolutely will.”
But sometimes the message people get is “it absolutely will.”
(He also says, ‘not to contribute to unrealistic expectations . . .’ 🤷♀️)
13/ The problem with unrealistic expectations is that if something goes wrong, people get discouraged.
From Clint Watts, former U.S. government intelligence analysts:
"The point of Russian active measures wasn’t just to get Trump elected, it was to . . .
14/ . . . undermine democracy, to make Americans lose confidence in our democratic institutions . . . ”
When enough people lose confidence in democratic institutions, it’s all over.
15/ The other problem with absolute thinking, “If X happens, Y will certainly happen,” is that it takes away individual agency.
You start thinking, “There’s nothing I can do—the future depends on factors I can’t control—so there’s no point doing anything.”
16/ Also if the Trump-FOX-GOP well oiled propaganda media loop succeeds in neutralizing Mueller’s testimony, angry Democrats may not blame the Trump-Fox-GOP propaganda mill.
They may blame a Democrat (Pelosi, perhaps) or mainstream media.
17/ This is a good way to help Trump win in 2020 because that kind of blaming helps him. See:
In fact, the future takes the shape it does because of what we all do now.
Democracy (particularly one in trouble) needs lots of active involvement.
19/ So tomorrow:
💠Cross your fingers that the Democratic questioning is good
💠Cross your fingers that the Republican attempts to undermine truth fail
💠Watch the polls and listen to which elected officials are swayed
💠Hope that tomorrow is the first step toward impeachment.
20/ One final word: Democracy won’t live or die because of what happens tomorrow.
It dies when we all give up.
"But what can I DO?" you ask.
Okay, I'll admit, "Cross your fingers" might not have been the best word choice . . . but wasn't this👇the opposite of my point?
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