Over the time of his marathon testimony to Congress, former special counsel Robert Mueller proved himself either dodgy or inept. As Democrats quoted Mueller’s 450-page report, asking the special counsel merely to confirm the words he wrote, Republicans asked important probing questions to which Mueller responded by saying some version of “I’m not going to answer that,” “Can you repeat the question?” or “That’s outside my purview.”
While Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Calif.) orchestrated the former special counsel’s testimony as a coup to Democrats, in order to make the case for impeachment to the American people by reciting the Mueller report, it appears his plan has backfired horribly.
“This was a very bad political calculation made by Chairman Nadler. This is not going well for Mueller. At all,” Townhall’s Katie Pavlich rightly noted.
This was a very bad political calculation made by Chairman Nadler. This is not going well for Mueller. At all.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) July 24, 2019
At the beginning of the second round of testimony, Mueller had to retract a statement he had made during the first round.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) had asked him, “I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?”
Unlike in his responses to Republicans, Mueller had been direct: “That is correct.”
Mueller reiterates that OLC decision is reason why he didn't indict Trump pic.twitter.com/urwwpEWoNb
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 24, 2019
Hours later, however, Mueller explicitly retracted this statement. “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,” the former special counsel said.
Mueller adding a correction to his testimony this morning…
"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." pic.twitter.com/H0iUJ03nyi
— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) July 24, 2019
As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis reported last night, Attorney General Bill Barr testified that Mueller “reiterated several times in a group meeting that he was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction.”
Mueller went on to contradict what he reportedly told Barr, then to reverse his contradiction, all while in general acting like a bumbling fool or like he had something to hide.
Robert Mueller Bingo from the #MuellerHearings:
"I'm not going to answer that."
"Can you clarify the question, please?"
"That's outside my purview."
Oh, and once or twice, he actually answers direct questions. #MuellerTestimony
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) July 24, 2019
In another particularly notable exchange, Mueller repeatedly refused to answer the question of whether or not his team ever questioned former British spy Christopher Steele.
At one point, Mueller laughably testified that he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, the firm that compiled the Steele dossier.
President Donald Trump dutifully thanked the Democrats for inviting Mueller to testify.
“I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing. Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to [Shifty Adam Schiff] – an Embarrassment to our Country!” the president tweeted.
I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing. Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff – an Embarrassment to our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2019
Perhaps most importantly, Mueller confirmed that his investigation was not “curtailed, stopped, or hindered” by President Donald Trump and his administration. In other words, he conceded that no effective obstruction of justice occurred.
Worse for the former special counsel, Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R.-N.D.) thoroughly exposed the conflicts of interest among Mueller’s team. Members of the team either attended Hillary Clinton campaign rallies, donated to Hillary Clinton, or represented Clinton or her aides in court. On Wednesday, Mueller brought along Aaron Zebley, the lawyer who represented the very Clinton aide who physically destroyed Hillary Clinton’s cell phones. It is indeed disturbing to hear that the team investigating potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia had so many personal connections to Trump’s political opponent in the 2016 election.
Democrats thought they were inviting a star witness to impeach Donald Trump. Instead, they got an embarrassing episode of stonewalling that undermined Mueller’s credibility and seemingly confirmed Trump’s accusations of bias and his repeated insistence that there was “No Obstruction.”
Game, set, match.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.