On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," legal analyst Joey Jackson told anchor Wolf Blitzer why Trump does not expect to face any sort of long-term political blowback from his comments that he would happily consider taking political dirt on his opponents from foreign geopolitical adversaries.
Blitzer asked Jackson whether "the Mueller report, the failure to find criminal experience encouraged potentially this kind of behavior," to which Jackson said yes. "I think that behavior is all about consequences, and when there are no consequences, the behavior continues."
"Let's look first at poll numbers," said Jackson. "When your poll numbers don't move because you have a base of people behind you, no matter what you do, no matter what you say, you're emboldened to act in the manner in which you've acted. When you have a Mueller report that comes out which does not address, really, the issue, it did certainly address the issue of obstruction but made no recommendation on that. When there's a clear road map for Congress but you have an AG who you appoint who says 'no obstruction,' there are no consequences and you continue."
Above all, Jackson noted, "When you're in office and you know you need 67 senators to convict you, to get rid of you — yes, you can be impeached by the House because there's a majority, but let them impeach me, there are no consequences. Unless there are consequences for activity, of course it emboldens the behavior. I can say what I want, I can do what I want. You can't touch me because I have the votes, you don't."
CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza then added that while even some Republicans have criticized Trump's remarks, they aren't going to do anything meaningful about it — because they would be dooming themselves.
"Criticizing him is easy ... but doing anything about his behavior is hard, or at least has proven hard for them," said Cillizza. "It's easy for them to express sorrow and regret about how he approaches things. Go back to the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape way back in October 2016. There was a lot of that then. The reality of the situation from a political perspective — and you saw this with Justin Amash's poll numbers against an announced opponent, Republican primary opponent —crossing Donald Trump is asking for your political career to end."