A big gun-control law always seemed a long shot, given the GOP’s strong embrace of the NRA and with Democrats less inclined to settle for modest compromises given the huge public support for several of their proposals.

But some Democrats hold out hope that Trump would view the House’s impeachment proceedings as a chance to show the public that he is concentrated on doing the work of president and not just focused on his own political survival.

“I think the president’s got to make a calculation as to how he’s going to manage through impeachment and other ways — that he can show he’s still relevant,” Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), one of the lead Democratic negotiators on guns, told reporters in Las Vegas at an event on the two-year anniversary of the nation’s worst mass shooting. “I’ve made this point directly to the president a couple of times.”

Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, followed by an acquittal in the Senate, offers one example of how things could play out. With a booming economy, Clinton famously declared he could “compartmentalize” defending himself, while continuing to perform the normal work of chief executive.