News & Politics

Mark Warner Offers Democrats the Worst Possible Advice if Trump Fires Deputy AG Rosenstein

He wants them to cool off. Seriously.

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The path for Donald Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller runs through Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. So what are Democrats going to do if Trump takes that first step toward firing Mueller by first firing Rosenstein? If Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) has his way, Democrats are going to sit back and let Trump get away with it:

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. [...]

Mark, Mark, Mark. If Donald Trump fires Rod Rosenstein and Republicans don’t push back immediately on their own, that will tell you all you need to know. But if you want to be generous, build a phone tree and give it an hour of reaching out seeking Republicans to bipartisanly condemn a Saturday Night Massacre-style action. And then, when most of them offer up excuses and delays and rationalizations, move forward and hammer the hell out of Trump and the Republicans who give him free rein. And no, the choice is not between calling for immediate impeachment and going to ground in silence:

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“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.’”

Dear congressional Democrats: Do not let Mark Warner run your Rosenstein-firing response unless you actually want to poke your heads out of the sand two days later and learn that Republicans have fully defined the narrative. Don’t think calling for impeachment is the way to go? Fine—but there are plenty of messages short of that that will get the message out that this was not okay and that will help build pressure on Republicans to take action against Trump. Seriously, taking advice like Warner’s is exactly how Democrats lose. Don’t let Warner get away with this unless you want Democrats to let Trump get away with that (and everything else).

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.