Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a warning to congressional Democrats on Wednesday, cautioning them against behaving too aggressively toward President Donald Trump if they win back the House of Representatives in November.
McConnell, aware of the significant chance Democrats have of regaining control of the House, said they could face backlash in 2020 if they abuse their power in 2018 and 2019.
“This business of presidential harassment may or may not quite be the winner they think it is,” McConnell told the Associated Press.
What does he mean?
In recent weeks and months, some Democrats have promised to use any congressional influence they have to investigate Trump, his businesses, his finances, and even his most recent Supreme Court appointee.
McConnell believes Democrats’ zeal to use a House majority to go after Trump could actually make it easier for him to get reelected, and cautioned them against overestimating the public’s support of such actions.
The Kentucky Republican said he was speaking from experience. He referenced Republicans’ attempts to take down former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s with a Republican-controlled house. Their impeachment of Clinton was less popular among the public than they hoped.
“It worked exactly the opposite. The public got mad at us and felt sympathy for President Clinton,” McConnell told AP.
What are Democrats planning?
Democrats have been frustrated throughout Trump’s term by their inability to control or begin investigations into things like potential collusion with Russia, Trump’s taxes, or his businesses.
That could all change if they win back the House. David Faris writes in The Week:
“Since President Trump is unlikely to sign any legislation addressing Democratic priorities, that means that one of the main things you can expect outcome-wise from two years of Democratic House control is a long series of public inquisitions that might help uncover the truth about the president and his cronies.”
Outside of Trump, more than one Democratic congressman has pledged an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations against him.
“As soon as Democrats get gavels we’re going to want to get to the bottom of this,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said late last month of the allegations against Kavanaugh.