This morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to call the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt." Trump's critics have responded by saying that the guilty pleas in the cases Mueller is investigating are proof that his investigation is not hunting witches, but actual crimes.
The critics have missed Trump's point.
The witch-hunter par excellence was Senator Joe McCarthy. We now know that dozens of Soviet spies had indeed penetrated into the American government during the McCarthy era. Yet we still remember his antics as a "witch hunt," and rightly so. Anti-communist suspicion had lead to widespread and aimless investigations into anything and everything with a connection to Russia, and that was a problem.
Since the beginning of Trump's presidency, Robert Mueller has been investigating the business dealings of anyone in the Trump campaign who had a financial connection to Russia (and even some who have no such connection), prosecuting them to the full extent of the law. If that isn't a witch-hunt, what is?
A witch-hunt is good for Trump.
If the Mueller investigation doesn't wrap up before the November midterm elections, those elections are going to turn on the issue of impeachment. And, unfortunately for Democrats, impeachment is a radical proposition that few Americans are excited about, and its possibility could bring the Republican base to the polls.
If the Mueller investigation doesn't wrap up before 2020, it could be Trump's ticket to reelection victory. At that point, Trump will be able to fire Mueller with a wave of the hand, and leave the decision about whether he's a "Manchurian candidate" to the American People to decide.