Yesterday, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller testified before two standing committees of the US House of Representatives, specifically, the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the former which some argue is ironically chaired by one of Congress’s less intelligent members, Adam Schiff. The aging and understandably tired Mueller was questioned for seven hours in total, a performance that brings to a close his participation in what has been a long, expensive dog and pony show.
The lead-up to his testimonial extravaganza was, unfortunately, far more dramatic than the actual event. Democrat lawmakers together with their brigade of yellow journalism activists have waited lustily for this moment since Mueller was appointed back in May of 2017.
Despite the repeated false starts and numerous nothing-burgers delivered since the investigation began, the hopes of an impeachment motion were pinned tightly to yesterday’s revelations. The hopeful Democrat led coup cabal has been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to undo the damage done by William Barr’s release of the report summary that said there was “nothing to see here”.
This anticipation was no doubt fueled and encouraged by the letter penned to Attorney General Barr from Bob Mueller himself, a letter which, unsurprisingly was leaked to the press. In it, Mueller seemed to object to and refute the sentiments held by Barr.
However, in the weeks prior to Mueller’s scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill, he was careful to establish his ground rules for his testimony. He stated he would refuse to answer anything outside the parameters of his lengthy report. In other words, interrogators shouldn’t expect elaboration or introduction of any new information. This demand in itself is remarkable, considering the outright lack of pearl clutching from House lawmakers at being so petulantly dictated to by someone under subpoena to testify. Certainly anytime the Attorney General has made such restrictions on his testimony, the outcry was as immediate as it was deafening.
No, rather than virtue signalling and stump speeches about the absolute authority of Congress to conduct their hearings as they see fit, the Committee members instead took their direction from the pundits and crafted their questions in a way that they hoped would both legitimize their interpretation of the report amd provide a treasure trove of tweet-worthy quotes and gotcha moments.
However, once again, the cabal came up with empty talons. Mueller’s testimony was exactly as he said it would be. Nothing beyond what was published and made available three months ago. The Democrats went all-in betting on an inside straight and in the end came up short.
The outcome wasn’t exactly what Republicans we’re after either, all crowing to the contrary. While yes, minority members were effective at shedding some light on the questionable motivations and practices of the probe, they, like the Democrats, came up short of what they most wanted.
The GOP minority’s main objective was to examine the source and genesis of the Russian Collusion Hoax. However, Mueller’s adherence to his self imposed rules of engagement prevented anything beyond cursory allusions to this hot topic.
Mueller’s stage presence has also been a major point of conversation. His testimonial delivery fell seriously short of the expectations of a career prosecutor well versed in presentation of testimony and with a wealth of experience testifying before Congress. His answers were halted and at times mumbled. He repeatedly asked for clarification or to have questions repeated, and frequently dodged, deflected or refused to answer questions he deemed outside his ROE. In prosecutorial terms, he was a hostile witness. Now, depending upon which side of the aisle you sit on, this display has been described as “careful and deliberate, thoughtful and enlightening” or “bumbling, confused, bewildered and possibly indicative of failing health”.
There is, however, a possibility that has not been mentioned, that is not only plausible, but extremely likely. In laying out his rules of testimonial engagement, Mueller essentially shut the door on any meaningful examination of the Coup Cabal efforts. While certainly, he also limited Democrats scoring ability, they pretty much knew going in that anything new would be purely bonus material. No, the real objective here was thwarting any attempt to uncover the underlying motives fueling the investigation.
His delivery was, for this purpose, a master stroke (no pun intended). By presenting himself as the bumbling dishevelled and unprepared witness, he quite effectively stalled, sand bagged and controlled the clock. Each questioner is, according to committee rules, allotted a finite number of minutes. Democrats, by asking simple yes/no questions, were able to optimize the gross number of questions asked and answered. By comparison, the minority members attempts to push toward the truth we’re met with Mr. Magoo bumbling for answers or flat refusing to respond. While the performance certainly calls into question his reliability, Bob really doesn’t care. He’s old, his jobs done, and his testimony certainly won’t hurt book sales.
In the end, we spent millions on this two year temper tantrum, and we are no closer to a conclusion than we were in 2017.