The Mueller Report — Five Quick Points; Other Big Stories Got Overlooked
Author: Greg Valliere
March 25, 2019
1. THE FINANCIAL MARKETS NEVER WORRIED MUCH about the Mueller probe, because the Senate was never going to convict Donald Trump; frankly, we think other concerns — slowing global economic growth, Brexit and potential snags in U.S-China trade talks — are more important (and more troubling) for the markets.
2. NANCY PELOSI FIGURED IT OUT: Impeachment is a losing issue for the Democrats. Their activists will push hard to make a case for obstruction of justice, so there will be subpoenas and hearings galore, and the Southern District of New York is a risk to Trump that he can’t overlook. But as we have asserted for over a year, there simply aren’t 67 votes in the Senate to convict the president, not even close.
3. THE BITTERNESS WILL PERSIST on Capitol Hill because Democrats (and some Republicans) loathe Trump. But the potential bombshell — collusion with Russia — has been defused. Case closed. Trump can now claim (falsely) that he was totally exonerated on all other issues. Demoralized Democrats will have to listen to the party’s angry base, but a majority of the public will tire of endless investigations.
4. WILL THIS LEAD TO COOPERATION AMONG THE PARTIES? There’s a minority view this morning that Trump will offer an olive branch to Democrats (after a few days of gloating), and that both parties will take Pelosi’s advice and move on — perhaps acting on infrastructure and drug pricing. Sounds intriguing — but we’ll believe it when we see it. A ferocious battle looms on the budget and the debt ceiling.
5. TWO-TERM PRESIDENT? With the economy still okay (at least in the U.S.), Trump now has a plausible case for re-election. He has 90 percent of Republicans in his back pocket, and an Electoral College map that looks winnable — but closer than in 2016 because Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are tossups. There’s a reason why Las Vegas odds-makers make Trump the favorite to win; he’s ferocious and a skilled spinmeister (see: “no witch hunt”).
ALL THAT’S BEEN OVERLOOKED: Washington has been gripped by Mueller fever for weeks, and several big stories have been overlooked, at least in this city: A messy Brexit is looking likely; Benjamin Netanayhu is in real trouble in the April 9 Israeli election; if confirmed as a governor, Steven Moore gives Trump a direct pipeline into the Fed; China cut an enormously significant trade deal with Italy this weekend; ISIS is finished; and, tragically, hopes for a breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug crashed last week.
WE’RE HAPPY TO MOVE ON, with impeachment seemingly off the table. There will be gripping Mueller and Barr hearings, with the potential that Trump could over-react, but the message after this weekend is clear: if you don’t like Trump and want him out, look to the ballot box, not Congress or the courts. The impeachment dog won’t hunt.
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