The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Democrats Would Be Perfectly Happy for Mueller to Indict Tony Podesta

The Scene 8-7
Tony Podesta.

Rebecca D’Angelo/The Washington Post via Getty Images

In an extremely … precedented event, a bad idea—namely, the suggestion that Democrats have been hit by a game-changing, script-flipping knockout punch because Special Counsel Robert Mueller alluded to Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta in his indictment of Paul Manafort—has bubbled up from the far-right internet into the president’s Twitter feed. Podesta’s lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, was contracted by Manafort to do lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine’s Russia-friendly government in 2012; the indictment refers to the Podesta Group a number of times in a way that suggests it may be facing future prosecution for circumventing disclosure laws. Podesta announced Monday that he would be leaving the firm, and various alt-right goon accounts treated the news as a historic blow to liberalism:

Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Fox & Friends all subsequently played up the story:

And, on Tuesday morning, yep:

Don’t worry about what came after the ellipsis; it literally didn’t make sense. The point is that the Trump-industrial complex is hyping Podesta’s resignation as if he were an irreplaceable cornerstone of modern progressivism. This isn’t true: While he is former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s brother and certainly is/was a figure of more influence in the Democratic Party than, say, me, he’s not a household name and has never held office. His lack of importance to the Democrats’ public image is evident when you consider which party figures have suggested that Mueller’s investigation of his firm is inappropriate or misguided: none of them. To state what is weirdly not obvious to Trump and Fox News—possibly because they can only perceive of politics through their own lens of reflexive total partisanship?—Mueller prosecuting a few relatively minor Democrats here and there is good for the Democrats, because it burnishes his reputation as a man of nonpartisan integrity whose investigation deserves continued public support as it (presumably) uncovers more and more evidence of malfeasance in Trump’s inner circle.

Today’s meter level is the same as yesterday’s as we wait for POTUS’ poll numbers to reflect (or not reflect) Manafort fallout.