Yesterday’s testimony in Congress showed signs that Trump could very well be in trouble in the impeachment inquiry.
Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor apparently testified that the aid to Ukraine, in his understanding, was held up in part in order to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. According to multiple sources, the testimony overall was enough to convince some Republicans that there might actually be a there there.
This now combines with several issues surrounding the Trump Administration right now: The situation in Syria, Trump’s unfortunate tweet comparing the process to a “lynching”, and recent polling that shows several key Senate seats in play, and it appears to be helping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make his choice on who to support.
Hint: It’s not the President.
Wednesday's intro: Mitch McConnell says he doesn't recall talking to Trump about call with Ukraine pic.twitter.com/0DGMVNr4Ou
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) October 23, 2019
This clip should be a big red flag to the White House. Trump’s typical reaction to dissent is insults and social media pressure but it will not work with McConnell, who has been a key ally in getting Trump’s judicial nominees through the Senate. McConnell’s work in putting as many Trump appointees into the system as possible has resulted in solid choices making it onto the federal bench, making him a very key component in Trump’s agenda going forward.
McConnell can afford to distance himself from Trump. He has the support of the Senate, where his opposition has largely quieted down since the Obama Era. Trump, however, cannot afford to lose McConnell.
This is a warning sign for Trump for multiple reasons. The first is that it largely confirms what I wrote yesterday morning – that the Senate is in play both in terms of the 2020 election and in terms of an impeachment trial – which will put Trump on edge more than usual. The second is the very real threat that Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine might be impeachable after all.
McConnell, as we’ve pointed out at RedState both from a friendly and an oppositional point of view, is a known fighter. He will fight to ensure political victory for him and his allies. Trump came into his office not as an ally, but as a threat. The relationship between the two was tumultuous at best. However, McConnell was able to leverage himself into Trump’s favor by forcing through judicial appointees and scoring a major victory in the Kavanaugh fight. That didn’t make them allies, just two Republicans with similar aims.
McConnell is #TeamMcConnell all the way. If Trump becomes a threat to Senate Republicans, McConnell will find a way to mitigate that threat as much as possible. If that means throwing Trump under the bus and taking their chances with President Mike Pence, then so be it. He will absolutely make that choice if it is in the best interest of him and his allies.
In his mind, Trump is expendable. Presidents have term limits and Senators do not. He can afford the shift in tone, and both he and Trump know this.
The question is… will Trump react and adjust the right way here?