He’s running. Former VP Joe Biden tells Norah O’Donnell that he’s confident Democrats will take back control of the House in the midterms, which at the moment is a pretty safe bet. It’s also a pretty safe bet that if they do win control of the House, Democrats will be under a lot of pressure to start opening up investigations into all things Donald Trump. But when it comes to the I-word, Biden says they should wait for Robert Mueller:
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 17, 2018
“I hope they don’t. I don’t think there’s a basis for doing that right now,” Biden said. He called for Democrats to wait until the conclusion of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I think we should focus on all the terrible things that are happening now in terms of interest of the middle class people and working class people,” Biden said, criticizing the Trump administration for “decimating” unions and “eviscerating” the Environmental Protection Agency.
“There are so many things to attend to immediately. Let’s see where the investigation takes us,” Biden said.
That’s the Biden version of statesmanship, but it misses the point somewhat. For one thing, Mueller might issue a report as soon as next month, which Bloomberg reported yesterday morning before O’Donnell sat down with Biden. In all likelihood, the Department of Justice will have this report long before the next session of Congress comes into session, although Rod Rosenstein has the final say as to whether it will be released and to whom. It seems highly unlikely that Congressional leadership of both parties will not be briefed on the findings, at the very least.
Even if they didn’t, Democrats won’t thunder to the floor on the first day of the session with articles of impeachment. Even if Mueller’s investigation clears Trump, House Democrats will conduct their own investigation once they have the subpoena power that comes with majority control. They will want to hold hearings to force administration and campaign officials to appear publicly to get grilled, and build a public case for impeachment first. In fact, that’s more constitutionally sound than having a special counsel investigation; Mueller’s doing what Congress should have done in the first place, if they didn’t trust the DoJ to do the job properly.
If they can’t dig up any smoking guns, they may not be able to sustain impeachment, especially among the Democrats who might win in Trump-friendly districts eyeballing the 2020 election cycle. But they’re certainly going to give it the ol’ college try, and Biden knows it. He’s just posing as the adult in the room, which might be a pretty good strategy considering the presidential-aspirant class of 2020.