Special counsel Robert Mueller may deliver damning indictments that implicate President Donald Trump in Russia collusion or other possible crimes -- but only Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell controls his political fate.
The incoming Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives may vote to impeach Trump based on Mueller's findings, and it's even possible the special counsel could move to indict the president, but McConnell has the power to protect Trump from all of that, according to The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky.
"McConnell has been a United States senator for coming up on 34 years and in all that time has displayed no visible moral compass of any kind," Tomasky writes.
Most longtime senators eventually cultivate at least some vaguely "humanitarian" legislative interest to pad their obituaries, but Tomasky said McConnell's career has been single-mindedly focused on gathering political power.
"Hence his obsession with fighting tooth-and-nail every effort at campaign-finance reform," Tomasky writes. "McConnell’s perfect world is one in which the Kochs and Adelsons and a few others can just buy Congress. And hence his only other real legislative interest, judges, because he wants judges at every level who will affirm his views on campaign finance."
Trump has helped McConnell pursue his life's work, so the president isn't going anywhere until that dynamic is disrupted.
"We are a long, long, long way from McConnell deciding that Trump is more liability to his Senate majority than asset," Tomasky writes. "It’s hard today to imagine what chain of events would make McConnell decide that."
McConnell is up for re-election in 2020, along with the president, so Trump might ultimately threaten the Kentucky Republican's political future -- if the 76-year-old intends to run again.
"If McConnell stays with Trump, Republicans, senatorial and otherwise, won’t buck him," Tomasky writes. "But if he decides Trump is bringing the party down, Trump’s support will collapse fast."
"It’s not a very comforting thought, that the fate of the republic is in Mitch McConnell’s hands," he added. "On the other hand, if the day does come when he decides Trump has to go, we can be sure that McConnell will execute the deed as mercilessly as he does everything else."