Democrats weigh a "Benghazi Trump" strategy

Democrats may not be able to saddle President Donald Trump with impeachment proceedings or pry documents from his administration, but they have another means of bludgeoning him: hearings, hearings and more hearings.

It’s a counter-strategy to the president’s all-out resistance to congressional investigations, lawmakers told POLITICO. Democrats say the optics are on their side. Witnesses like Attorney General William Barr, ex-White House counsel Don McGahn and special counsel Robert Mueller are all but guaranteed to draw blanket media attention. And even if the bold-faced names don’t show up, party leaders recognize that the spectacle of empty chairs and drawn-out legal fights could dog Trump and create negative narratives during the 2020 race.

“Let’s face it, most Americans are not going to read a 400-plus page report,” said Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, referencing the special counsel’s report summarizing the nearly two-year Russia probe. “They would much rather see something on TV that they can make conclusions for themselves about. That’s the age we’re living in. It’s almost entertainment.”