One of the first things a young political operative learns is: Manage expectations.
Actually, the VERY first thing a young political operative learns is: Don’t [mess] up filing. If your candidate can’t get on the ballot, your campaign cannot be successful.
Managing expectations is very much on everyone’s mind here in Your Nation’s Capital.
Donald Trump is heading to Vietnam; Michael Cohen is heading to Capitol Hill; and, Robert Mueller is heading for home.
There is also a spirited discussion about how the National League East will go this baseball season, but we’ll leave that until we’re a little deeper into the Spring Training season.
Let’s start with Trump’s summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un. Without any bone spur cracks, they will be meeting in Hanoi this week and the expectations for success, as I understand them, is getting a commitment for no new testing of missiles capable of launching nuclear warheads at the U.S. and, for that matter, no new testing of nuclear warheads.
Trump said the other day that he and Kim had “fallen in love,” which is creepy enough, but it is also a long way from Trump’s first round with Kim, when the goal was the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
If ever there was a policy that fairly screamed to be reduced to an acronym, the “total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” would be it.
How much easier would be to simply say (or type): TDKP?
This is why you subscribe to Mullings.
Anyway, the TDKP goal is lost to history. The new goal, after comparing weird hairdos, is the status quo.
Kim, for his part, needs more food, fuel, investment, and the ability to export something other than weapons of mass destruction. Kim will likely get from Trump a decrease in sanctions, and an increase in diplomatic recognition – not full ambassadorial representation, but whatever is in the State Department’s bag o’ tricks that will allow Kim to show North Korea is moving toward being a full player on the world stage.
Then, there’s Michael Cohen. Cohen went through the last decade or so, strutting around the cool bars and restaurants in Manhattan, burnishing his reputation as Donald Trump’s Fixer.
Somewhere between threatening reporters on the phone, and lying about payments to porn stars, Cohen and Trump fell out of love – thereby creating the love gap in Trump’s life currently being filled by Kim Jong Un.
Cohen will testify this week before not one, not two, but three Congressional committees this week: House Oversight and House Intelligence (both led by Democrats) and Senate Intelligence (led by Republicans).
Only the testimony before the House Oversight Committee will be public – currently scheduled for Wednesday when Trump and Kim will be in their own private discussions.
What will Michael Cohen tell the committees that we don’t already know?
Probably not much, but his testimony will be a lot more interesting for the panels on the cable chat shows to discuss than the amount of vanadium and titanium North Korea will be allowed to export.
Finally, there are the expectations of the Mueller report which now range from a handwritten note in the same envelope as the keys to the office; to a library of charges and proofs accusing the Trump campaign and, perhaps, Trump himself as being Howdy Doody to Trump’s Buffalo Bob.
Whenever Mueller releases whatever he releases this is my expectation: The new chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Ca) will have his staff set up a cot next to the position where the cable shows do their standups, so he can be available for interviews 24/7.
Robert Mueller and his team know a lot more than you and I do. They know a lot more than anyone in Congress does. They might know a lot more than Donald Trump does.
The busiest people in the U.S. this week will not be the staffs of the Committees, or the State Department, or the Department of Justice.
The busiest people will be those who are drafting statements – minute-by-minute – for the 273 Democrats running for President.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the WashPost’s curtain-raiser on the Kim/Trump summit, to a list of sanctions in place against North Korea, Howdy Doody, and the Mother Jones look at what might be in the Mueller Report.