For Democratic operatives and Trump’s other political rivals, the Mueller report still hangs in that seductive space between fantasy hit job and grave disappointment. In the first version, it contains long-awaited insights into how and why Russia helped Trump—with or without his collaboration—to beat Hillary Clinton en route to the White House. And it could also offer the details they need to start beating the impeachment drum louder—which means the kinds of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might not amount to legally prosecutable offenses but would warrant Congress seeking the president’s removal from office.
What are they looking for, specifically? “I am most interested in reading if anyone inside the campaign reported to the FBI or others any contact with Russian officials or individuals who promised to provide dirt,” said Donna Brazile, who took over as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in July 2016 after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned after the public release of her hacked emails.
In terms of tactics, several Democrats said they planned to handle the deluge of information with the quintessential 2019 reading experience: using two or even three screens. Former Obama White House speechwriter David Litt will have Twitter open while he’s making his way through the report, watching in particular for posts from several of the more prominent legal and analytical voices who have narrated the story’s plot twists as it evolved: Ken White (@popehat), Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1), Renato Mariotti (@Renato_Mariotti), Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheel), Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) “for the definitive word on special-counsel regs” and Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight “to think through the political implications.” “Basically I’m assembling my own panel, except there’s no yelling, thoughtful argument, and zero chance of Kellyanne Conway showing up,” Litt said.