President Donald Trump apparently may have an ulterior motive for causing the government shutdown as he hopes it will distract House Democrats from investigating him while delaying civil court cases in which he is a defendant.
The government shutdown has already dragged on for a week and will drag on into the New Year after the Senate ended Wednesday’s session after four minutes because nobody showed up.
That means Trump’s shutdown will continue as Democrats prepare to take over control of the House and launch investigations into Trump ties with Russia and other scandals.
But sources close to or familiar with Trump say that he is betting on the shutdown distracting House Democrats from immediately launching investigations against him.
“The more the focus is on the wall, the more Pelosi is forced to focus on this fight instead of the investigations,” White House sources told The Daily Beast. “It’s a situation where [Trump] has no choice but to shut it down. It’s the best of the worst choices. It’s really the only choice [because] I think there are people who would vote for him today who might not if he gave in too quickly.”
It’s not only the House investigations Trump is hoping to delay, but also pending civil court cases as Justice Department lawyers argue in court that a government shutdown should halt proceedings even as many federal workers are forced to work with no pay.
According to an NBC report:
The partial government shutdown prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts Thursday to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers, giving President Donald Trump a reprieve from the progress of some litigation he faces.
U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written order that the suspension, requested by U.S. attorneys, will remain in effect for civil litigation involving the United States, its agencies, and its employees until the business day after Trump signs a budget appropriation law restoring Justice Department funding.
One particular case the Justice Department is trying to delay is a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the president from personally profiting from the office. And that’s just one of many others that are causing legal headaches for Trump.
Other judges have also suspended civil cases, but many others have not as caseloads would continue to pile up otherwise.
Compounding the issue is Trump’s delusional fantasy that voters actually support his wall and his decision to shut the government down, as well as his belief that Democrats will be blamed.
According to The Daily Beast:
One of these sources said Trump has privately predicted that Democratic politicians are “screwing themselves” with voters by resisting his hard-line, restrictionist immigration policies, and not signing on to his wall.
A former aide seems to think Trump got lucky with the government shutdown.
“I don’t think [the White House] thought it out strategically,” the former aide said. “It is something Trump fell into and got lucky. He’s a lucky guy in a lot of ways.”
Except that Trump’s approval rating is down and polls show that most Americans blame him for the shutdown and oppose his wall.
A top congressional Democratic aide countered Trump’s aides with reality:
“I don’t see this as going well for them, He keeps digging himself further in a hole with his every comment and move. The idea that they’re somehow doing good in this shows they’re clearly living in a Fox News bubble.”
Shutting the government down won’t stop House Democrats from issuing subpoenas and launching investigations. And using the shutdown for the purpose of delaying investigations and court cases won’t sit well with the American people. In fact, it could be seen as Trump obstructing justice, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still on the job building his case.
As usual, Trump is only interested in helping himself even if it means destroying the lives of millions of Americans to do it.
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