President Trump just got an early Christmas present.
Fox News and NBC called the House at 9:30 pm. EDT, declaring that Democrats have taken control of the chamber. So yes, Trump's Republican Party has lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives, as predicted, but Democrats could well install Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the new Speaker — and that's a gift that just keeps on giving.
The 78-year-old Democrat from California, who was House Speaker from 2007 until the GOP took control of the chamber in 2011, is poised to resume that powerful position — and she wants it.
"I feel very confident in the support that I have in the House Democratic Caucus, and my focus is on winning this election because so much is at stake," Pelosi told reporters in July. Just this month, she told The Washington Post: “Nobody is indispensable. But I do think that I am best qualified to take us into the future, protect the Affordable Care Act, to do our infrastructure bill and the rest. Stepping down this path, I know the ropes.”
And Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said a few days ago: "I expect Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker, and I believe that she will be Speaker until she decides to leave."
Pelosi is a career politician who has already served 16 terms in the House, but some party leaders wish she'd go away.
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) said late last year it was time for Pelosi — and other longtime party leaders — to depart and let a new generation lead House Democrats. "Our leadership does a tremendous job, but we do have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus and I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders," Sanchez said.
But Pelosi wants the gavel, and while some political watchers say there'll be a fight, many predict she'll get it.
Meanwhile, Rep. Maxine Waters, another California Democrat and one who has repeatedly called for Trump's impeachment, could soon control her own committee — which would yield her the power to subpoena and control the fate of legislation.
Waters, 80, could become chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, where she currently serves as ranking member. The committee oversees the housing, banking, insurance, and securities industries, and Waters has offered big plans if she can bag the job.
"Last August, Waters moved unsuccessfully to subpoena Deutsche Bank AG for records concerning 'internal reviews of the personal accounts of the President and his family,' as well as more information about fees levied against the bank concerning lax money-laundering detection policies that could have allowed Russian operatives to funnel cash without a paper trail," Fox News reported.
Waters, a career politician once named one of the most corrupt in Congress, has gone off the deep end since Trump's election. "He claims that’s bringing people together but make no mistake, he is a dangerous, unprincipled, divisive, and shameful racist,” Waters said in February.
Then there's Rep. Adam Schiff, a true Trump hater who is beloved by the mainstream media.
Another California Democrat, Schiff could likely rise to chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, where he is now the ranking member.
Schiff, 58, said in an interview with CNN that the committee would "investigate questions involving Russian money laundering and President Donald Trump's businesses." Schiff said his committee would work in tandem with Waters' focus on potential money-laundering schemes involving the Trump campaign and Russia, saying he'll back Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged collusion.
"The question, though, that I don't know whether Mueller has been able to answer — because I don't know whether he's been given the license to look into it — is were the Russians laundering money through the Trump Organization?" Schiff said. "And that will be a very high priority to get an answer to — for the reason that, if they were doing this, it's not only a crime, but it's something provable."
Then there's Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who would be poised to take over the House Judiciary Committee. Nadler could work with Schiff to oversee any attempt to impeach Trump.
Nadler, 71, was on the committee when it voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton, but he said then that the vote was an attempted coup and a "gross abuse" of the impeachment power. He apparently doesn't think that any more.
"If the president perjured himself about colluding with Russians, that would be worthy of impeachment," Nadler said in September. "Perjury about some real estate deal that happened 10 years ago that the Trump Organization took, that would not be an impeachable offense. It would be a crime."
And Cummings, one of the most partisan members of the House, could well take over the House Oversight Committee, where he is now ranking Democrat. Cummings has said Trump “is a person [who] calls a lie ‘the truth’ and the truth ‘a lie.’” And the Democrat has vowed to conduct investigations into the president. "If I can get documents, it doesn’t matter.”
"Cummings is prepping targets — from the security clearances of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, to digging into how former EPA chief Scott Pruitt was able to keep his job for so long—and the list is getting longer by the week," Politico reported on Oct. 2.
But back to Pelosi. Throughout the 2018 midterms, Republicans have sought to connect Democratic candidates to Pelosi -- they've run more than 250 anti-Pelosi TV ads in some 75 House districts during the last months of the campaign. That's forced some candidates to repudiate Pelosi.
For Trump, though, losing the House — but getting Pelosi back as a target for 2020 — is a dream come true. And he knows it.