I set out to watch the publically broadcast Mueller hearing this morning, gentle readers, with the intention of being able to report what actually happened. Yes, as always in these political matters, I was going to suffer so you didn’t have to. I lasted about a half hour before Mrs. Manor and I fled for a bike ride. It–not the bike ride–was one of the most painful, embarrassing spectacles I’ve ever seen out of DC, and that’s saying something. During that debacle, America’s enemies, no doubt typified by Vladimir Putin, were laughing their collective asses off as the Democrat/socialist/communist side of Congress did far more damage to American prestige and credibility than they could ever hope to do.
Rather than pontificate endlessly, I’ll provide some small sampling of reasoned commentary, and add a few comments. If you have the time and inclination, take the links and read the whole thing(s), but be aware I’m providing the central themes. We begin with Roger Kimball, writing at The Spectator:
If only his legs could reach that far, Rep. Jerry Nadler [ooo-that had to hurt] would be kicking himself now. Whose idea was it to indulge in this pathetic geriatric festival featuring antique G-Man Robert S. Mueller III?
The chap who suggested subjecting us all to the five-plus hours of this Howdy-Doody show should be furloughed immediately. For one thing, the escapade probably violated the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which explicitly prohibits, inter alia, cruel and unusual punishment.
Cruel the punishment certainly was, and not just to viewers. I almost felt sorry for Robert Mueller, who at 74 is clearly not the incisive interlocutor that he, by reputation, once was. ‘Dazed and confused’ read one Drudge Report headline. Exactly. Mueller’s cringe-making performance, full of blank, deer-in-the headlights stares, multiple requests to repeat the question (‘Director Mueller, what day is it today?’ ‘Would you repeat that?’), and a blinking, incontinent porousness in his responses, made the entire spectacle painful to watch. Asked about Fusion GPS, which hired Christopher Steele to compile the infamous Russian-sourced ‘dossier’ against Trump, Mueller said that was ‘not familiar‘ with them. Uh oh.
Scary option: he was telling the truth. As I say, I almost felt sorry for Robert Mueller — emphasis on the adverb — and then I remembered how many lives that horrible fanatic had ruined over the course of his career and what he and his squadron of Trump-hating lawyers put the country through for the past three years.
Kimball is entirely accurate. As I watched him, feeling almost sorry for him too, it occurred to me that Mueller really had little idea what was going on. He was used by the rabidly partisan Democrat thugs–like Andrew Weissman–he hired, or were hired for him. He does indeed appear diminished by age.
Laurence Tribe, law professor of some repute, is also an avowed leftist and Trump hater. For him to say this, we have some understanding of what a catastrophe the hearing was for Democrats:
One of the Democrat’s post-Mueller report talking points was that Mueller could have indicted President Trump, but DOJ policy prevented it. AG Barr has made it plain Mueller affirmed that was not the case, nor does Mueller’s report make that case, but they refuse to let go of any thread, no matter how frail and frayed. That didn’t work out so well for them today, as Fox News reports:
Robert Mueller kicked off his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday afternoon by issuing a clarification of something he said during a morning hearing about his decision-making process when it came to the question of whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice.
Mueller raised eyebrows during an exchange with House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.
‘The reason that you did not indict the president is because of the OLC opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?’ Lieu asked, referring to the Office of Legal Counsel’s long-held position against charging a president while they are in office.
‘Correct,’ Mueller replied.
Mueller misspoke, or perhaps realized he was saying what he wanted reality to be. In any case, he had to walk it back, to the dismay of Democrats:
I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning,’ Mueller said. ‘I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.
Nonsense. If Mueller’s handlers had even the slightest hope of indicting Trump, they would have gone for it. Even the resistance at ABC could see the writing on the wall:
ABC’s Terry Moran speculated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would be unwilling to heed lawmakers’ calls for impeachment proceedings, which are likely to be unpopular with the American public.
‘Impeachment’s over,’ he said. ‘I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for her members bringing forth something that is going to obviously lose in the Senate, lose with the American public.
Moran is correct, but I doubt Democrats are capable of admitting that:
Moran went on to say that Mueller fell short of the ‘vigorous’ prosecutor that Democrats needed him to be. ‘They needed more fuel for any kind of impeachment effort,’ Moran said.
Oh sure. The problem wasn’t the investigation was a crude attempt to further and cover a failing coup, the problem was Mueller just wasn’t “vigorous” enough. Tragic that Mueller was going to be the superman–super ethical, super aggressive, possessed of super integrity–that would do Trump in once and for all. As soon as his report was released, Democrats did what they always do to people when their usefulness is over: they threw him under the bus, and after today, they’ll stomp him into dust, and soon ignore him. Even Democrat stalwart David Axelrod was, in the least, opening the bus door and helping Mueller exit:
Democrats hoping that hours of testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Muellermight fuel their case for President Trump’s impeachment were left with little new material at the conclusion of Wednesday’s back-to-back hearings, as Republicans gloated that the spectacle failed to make the case to oust the president.
‘It’s time for the curtain to close on the Russia hoax. The conspiracy theory is dead,’ said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., top Republican on the intelligence committee.
Mueller stood by his team’s findings at Wednesday’s hearings—reiterating that the special counsel’s office found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and Russia, while also stating that the president was not exonerated on allegations of obstruction of justice despite his assertions to the contrary.
Ms. Schriver might be thought kind in trying to portray Mr. Mueller as merely too gentlemanly for this less than gentile age. Sadly, he exposed himself as a man no longer in control of his faculties, if indeed, he was during the two-year investigation he supposedly ran.
My favorite Bookworm also recognized Mueller’s diminished capacity, and his apparent weak grasp of the fundamental issues of his investigation:
While I have been in the car [Bookworm is traveling cross-country] I have been listening a little bit about the Mueller hearings. I have no respect for the man, and I’m not surprised to learn that he is backtracking constantly on things he said before, and that there was no collusion or obstruction. The thing that did surprise me most was learning that he knew nothing about Fusion GPS. That admission alone should consign his report forever to the incinerator of history.
I’m sure you, gentle readers, know Fusion GPS was the company hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to produce what became the Steele Dossier. The full extent of its involvement has not yet been made public. Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrectionalso noted the dismay of the Left:
Amy Walter from the Cook Political Reported tweeted a comment on Robert Mueller’s testimony that pretty much sums up how damaging it has been to Democrats;
‘We are only 30 mins into this thing but I don’t think that this is going the way Democrats were hoping it would.’
Another never-ending Dem talking point was that Russia tried to elect Trump. Mueller tried to help them with that, but Dems were forced to watch in horror as his torpedo made a circular run. Mary Chastain at Legal Insurrection added this:
Robert Mueller said to the Intelligence Committee that hackers Hillary received a lot of the same behavior from Russian hackers that Trump received:
Asked by Democratic Rep. Jim Himes which candidate Russian hacking was designed to benefit, Mueller answered Trump — but he added ‘there were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior.
Here’s the full exchange:
Himes: ‘Director, who did the Russian social media campaign ultimately intend to benefit, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?’
Mueller: ‘Donald Trump.’
Himes: ‘The second operation —‘
Mueller: ‘Let me say Donald Trump. There were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior.
Double oops. Was Mueller trying to be fully honest? He did little of that during the clown show. Or is he desperately trying to salvage what little is left of his reputation?
Another desperate Dem trope is the idea that Mueller did not specifically exonerate Trump. That didn’t fare well either:
Sean Davis sums it up succinctly:
Another Democrat partisan was less than thrilled, as The Free Beacon reports:
MSNBC contributor and former Obama administration official Jeremy Bash said Robert Mueller’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee ‘sucked the life out of the report’ and ‘set back’ efforts to impeach President Donald Trump.
Bash made the comments Wednesday on MSNBC between Mueller’s two testimonies.
‘I have to say that far from breathing life into the report, he kind of sucked the life out of the report,’ Bash said in a video posted by the GOP War Room. ‘I thought he was boring. I thought in some cases he was sort of evasive, he didn’t want to explain or expand on his rationale. He seemed lost at times, he was kind of flipping through the report trying to find passages that members of Congress were reading to him.
Ooops. I’m sure Mueller was having trouble because it’s highly unlikely he wrote any of the report. It’s equally unlikely he has actually read the entire thing.
The Trump investigation was a hoax from beginning to end, and the Mueller report is a political attempt to impeach the President. There was an ongoing criminal conspiracy, involving much of the Obama administration, to elect Hillary Clinton, and when that failed, to overturn the will of the American people. What will ultimately matter is the Inspector General’s report, and the results of the criminal investigation currently underway in the DOJ.
Robert Mueller’s reputation is obliterated, and he did it to himself today. Whatever service he may have rendered to America will be forever overshadowed by his faltering, feckless participation in an attempted coup.
I’d like to think this is true. I’d like to think that today, the Dems ensured the reelection of Donald Trump, and consigned themselves to the political outer darkness for a generation, but as Han Solo said: “don’t get cocky, kid.”
I suspect we’ll see, in short order, that Trump Derangement Syndrome is communicable, virulent, and fatal. It couldn’t happen to worse people.