The Mueller Testimony: Judiciary Committee

If the goal of the Dems in having Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee was to breathe life into the report, it was like asking ResusciAnnie to do CPR on the corpse of the Russian interference scandal. Don’t be looking for a fire storm of protest from across the nation as a result. Mueller was stiff, stumbling, stuttering, and peculiarly hard-of-hearing. It was singularly uninforming and uninteresting.

If the goal of the Dems in having Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee was to breathe life into the report, it was like asking ResusciAnnie to do CPR on the corpse of the Russian interference scandal. Don’t be looking for a fire storm of protest from across the nation as a result.

Let’s start by giving a link to the report for you yourself to download and read. I always thought the thing to do is to organize reading parties. Get some family and friends together and read the damn thing aloud. Have a little wine, some finger food, and some fun.

Mueller has always been something of an anathema to me. I know he’s supposed to be the starched-shirt, straight-shooter, tightly-clenched anus, but, ya know, there is a time for everyone to stand up and be counted even if you are limelight shy. If ever there were a moment in which someone needed to stand up and say impeach the corrupt lying compromised motherfucker, it is now. It is clear that no one is going to pass that particular turd and everyone is happy to continue sitting on that pot playing with themselves and each other.

What’s the opposite of a drama queen? I don’t know, but Mueller is the poster child of it. Mueller seemed to be passive-aggressively stalling for time. He asked for questions to be repeated repeatedly. He had trouble flipping through his copy of his report to find the passages being referred to. He insisted on flipping through his copy of the report and then saying, I stand by the report. And, then, he just allowed everything else to roll off his back. He wouldn’t even say that the remedy for Trump’s lawlessness is impeachment in Congress.

Mueller was not going to be budged off of his prosecutor’s seat and allow himself to stake out a claim on the health and well-being of the country. He just steadfastly deflected back to the report or said, I don’t agree with your characterization, especially with the Repubes trying to attack him and his investigative strategy and practice.

In this hearing, I though Rep. Lieu did the best job of walking Mueller through the Lewandowski obstruction incident of Trump instructing Session to (a) un-recuse himself, (b) limit Mueller to investigating future interference, and (c) if Session doesn’t, Lewandowski should fire him. He made the clearest case of obstruction by juxtaposing the three elements of obstruction with aspects of the incident. Mueller, while refusing to accede to his characterizations, seemed to me to smile ever so slightly as he did it. It must’ve been the lawyerly and prosecutarily method that Lieu used.

While Nadler started strong with getting Mueller to agree that the report did not find that there was no obstruction and exonerates Trump, it ended with a whimper. We know from the peak-end experience that this hearing made no difference in the country’s opinion. The only intensity involved is wholly rooted in the motivated reasoning of the listener and the ending played footsie with impeachment.

Rep. Escobar made a respectable run at getting Mueller to say impeachment, but the closest he came was saying, I think you mentioned at least one. She was coyly referring to the Constitutional remedies that Mueller referred to in his report about responding to the criminality or corruptness of a sitting president.

If the hearing was a rom-com, the leading roles had no chemistry between them. No one could believe that Mueller loved either the Dems or Repubes and certainly didn’t seem to throw one over for the other. In fact, it ended as if the Dems rushed in to interrupt Mueller’s wedding vows with the Repubes, Mueller winked but after a short tease, walked away from both.

5 comments

  1. One thing became quite clear. It is very very difficult to get Robert Mueller to say anything or talk about anything he does not want to, or believes he is not supposed to. Both sides gave him plenty of opportunities to do both. The republicans did their best to get him to yell at them and tell them they were spinning bull shit conspiracy theories. He’s a smart fish and knows what’s hidden in the worm. In the end the two narratives of two different universes continued; (D) Trump and gang did lots of very bad things and should be gone to jail. (R) The whole investigation should never have happened and Trump is a victim.

    Every Congress Person on either side is running for reelection next year. The GOPers were out to prove their loyalty to Trump and his version of reality so as to be spared a Primary challenge. The Dems had to show they are fighting hard and mad as Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy Bob!
      One thing I liked is that the Dems all ended their questioning with some version of “it is clear that if anyone other than Trump had done these things, he’d be indicted and imprisoned. No one is above the law.” The problem is that you had to listen so carefully and be able to assemble a vast array of details to conclude that Trump obstructed justice. However, the simple narrative of ordering Lewandowski to order Sessions to unrecuse, limit the investigation, and failing that fire him, was clearly outrageous if understood. Also, the McGahn incident in which he was ordered to create a false paper trail denying that Trump had ordered him to get rid of Mueller was clearly a violation of any common sense approach to obstruction of justice.

      The advantage of having the Repubes go after Mueller so hard and, literally, shout at him about how badly he had performed his duties is that it creates sympathy for Mueller especially as he sat there open mouthed and raised eyebrows just taking it. I don’t think the hearings changed the needle much as to which side of the narrative the viewer is on, but I think it lays a foundation, albeit weak, for impeachment.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As to the foundation for impeachment, the skeleton is there in the redacted report. The meat for those bones is in the Grand Jury testimonies, and other documents, and the evidence in cases yet to be decided. Even if the House did start and Impeachment Inquiry now, the Trump administration would still continue to stonewall on complying with subpoenas, and slow walk the litigation about those (the “bury them with paper” strategy of objections, pleadings, motions, and counter suits) to try to run out the clock until after the election in hope of getting a friendly House. I think that has a lot to do with Nancy’s reluctance to formalize the process until it is clear that they will actually be able to get the evidence needed. The Great Unknown is, “How badly does Trump have to screw up for the Rebubs in the Senate to turn on him?” Impeaching him and having the Senate fail to convict would be the worst kind of win to give him (and Mitch).

        Liked by 1 person

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