It’s Mueller Time

Starting at 8:30 a.m. this morning, the eyes and ears of Washington and much of the nation will be focus on one thing, the testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Beginning this morning at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will sit down before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee to testify regarding his investigation and the report that was issued several months ago. As did the report, these five hours of hearings will delve into both Russian interference in the election and the twin issues of collusion between people close to President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia and efforts by Trump and those close to him to obstruct and impede the investigation. As I’ve noted, Mueller has said in the past that any testimony he gives will stick to what is in his report, so anyone hoping for a shocking revelation today will likely be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a turning point:

WASHINGTON — After all the swearing at, finally comes the swearing in. When Robert S. Mueller III takes the oath on Wednesday morning in the wood-paneled Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building, he will answer questions for the first time since opening his special counsel investigation into President Trump and Russia more than two years ago.

But for all the anticipation, for all the fighting that it took to get to this day, many in Washington assume it will be more fizzle than sizzle. Mr. Mueller, the famously stoic prosecutor and reluctant witness, has vowed to adhere strictly to the words of his 448-page report and no more, making it unlikely that he will serve as the dramatic accuser Mr. Trump’s critics yearn to see.

“I don’t have high expectations for any additional substantive appreciation of Mr. Mueller’s investigation,” said former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was the Democratic leader during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “I think he’s going to stick to the script, and the Justice Department has told him to stick to the script, so I think it will be difficult for him to provide any more information.”

That is not to say it will be free of fireworks. Democrats will use Mr. Mueller to argue that Mr. Trump benefited from Russia’s help in the 2016 election even if investigators did not establish a criminal conspiracy and that his efforts to impede the investigation amounted to obstruction of justice even if Justice Department rules bar indictment of a sitting president. Republicans will grill the former special counsel to press their case that the entire investigation represented an illegitimate, partisan coup attempt even though Mr. Mueller himself is a lifelong Republican.

The resulting food fight could prove to be riveting television as cable and broadcast networks carry the proceedings live with back-to-back hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. And Mr. Mueller may be compelling simply by virtue of his just-the-facts credibility after two years of near silence. The real question, however, is whether it changes anyone’s mind in a highly polarized country that has already digested Mr. Mueller’s findings and dug in on its conflicting views of Mr. Trump and his guilt or innocence.

“I pay close attention, I am interested and I’ll watch him tomorrow morning, but I don’t have great expectations of some dramatic change or shift,” said Robert Dallek, the presidential historian who has written books on Richard M. Nixon, among others. “He’s not going to say, ‘This president is guilty as sin, you should impeach him.’ That’s not his style and it’s not his politics either.”

Kenneth M. Duberstein, who took over as President Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff after the Iran-contra scandal, said the hearing had become a sideshow. “I think the American people have moved on,” he said. “This is more for TV ratings. I would be shocked if Mueller would say something important that isn’t already out there. I don’t know a lot of people who are planning on listening in this town.”

Washington has seen plenty of dramatic hearings over the years, including John Dean testifying against his own president during the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon and Oliver L. North in his Marine uniform explaining his role in Iran-contra and making himself into a hero of the right. For the first of his two hearings on Wednesday, Mr. Mueller will sit in the same chamber where Ken Starr presented his evidence against Mr. Clinton.

By the time Mr. Mueller takes his seat, however, he will be speaking a full four months and two days after delivering his report to the Justice Department — or after 2,193 presidential tweets as of Tuesday night, to use another measure. By now, whether they have actually read it or not, many Americans and their representatives in Congress have already settled on what they think Mr. Mueller’s findings mean.

The delay in his testimony and the ability of Attorney General William P. Barr to frame the results of his investigation on terms most favorable to Mr. Trump, who appointed him, have cemented a political reality long before Mr. Mueller explained his conclusions in any depth. The only time he has spoken about the investigation in public before now was a nine-minute statement in May when he took no questions.

That by itself makes his appearance important. Ken Gormley, the president of Duquesne University and author of books on Archibald Cox, the Watergate prosecutor, and the battle between Mr. Clinton and Mr. Starr, said no special counsel has been in this position. Mr. Cox resisted testifying to Congress because he was still contemplating criminal charges while Mr. Starr operated under a different law that required him to report what he considered impeachable offenses to Congress.

Mr. Mueller, who acted as a Justice Department subordinate, had no explicit authority to recommend impeachment, a function of Congress. And so many will scrutinize his words carefully to see if they add fuel to the drive by some Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump, a drive that gained the support of the N.A.A.C.P. on Tuesday.

“To me, it’s as dramatic as John Dean testifying,” Mr. Gormley said of Mr. Mueller’s appearance. “It really is unprecedented. We’ve never had this kind of situation.”

For their part, Republicans on Tuesday took on their best nothing-to-see-here demeanor, dutifully repeating the party’s Americans-have-moved-on talking points.

(…)

While playing down expectations, Democrats were still hoping for a splash. Judiciary Committee Democrats conducted a mock hearing on Tuesday, with Norman L. Eisen, one of their lawyers, playing Mr. Mueller and another aide playing Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio. Party leaders separately coached their members on how to talk about Mr. Mueller’s testimony to make sure they can capitalize on any momentum he provides.

Aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi circulated a six-page briefing packet, titled, “Exposing the Truth,” charging the Trump administration with “unparalleled abuses of power and corruption while hiding the truth from the American public.” It urged Democrats to talk not just about Mr. Mueller’s findings but also legislative actions the Democrat-controlled House has taken to harden the 2020 elections against foreign interference.

But it also smacked of a field test of something more ambitious, a 2020 campaign message meant to sow doubts about Mr. Trump’s loyalties and actions. And if Washington veterans were jaded about the hearings, Democrats were gambling that it would take only one or two viral video clips to engage the public.

As I’ve said before, Democrats and those of us who oppose the President should probably temper their expectations that today’s hearings will provide them with the same sort of “smoking gun” that John Dean’s testimony did during the Watergate hearing. Mueller has made it clear that if called to testify he would not be straying far from what is already in his report, and his long history of previous Congressional testimony shows us that we ought to take him at his word. Instead, his answers to questions will likely be short, very lawyer-like, and unlikely to deviate from the four corners of the report itself. Indeed, it’s likely that much of Mueller’s testimony will consist of reciting passages from the report and that he will resist efforts by Members of Congress to draw conclusions not specifically mentioned in the report.

All that being said, though, there could be significant value for Democrats in just having Mueller put a human face on the 484-page report that, quite honestly, most Americans have not read and are unlikely to read. For example, there are significant amounts of the report that directly contradict what the President and Attorney General have said about the report and the investigation, and Democrats will likely focus on those contradictions. For example, the President has claimed that the report found there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian officials. This is not true. What the report says, of course, is that the investigation could not find direct evidence of such collusion but that there were several instances where it clearly appeared as if actions taken by Russia and Wikileaks were being coordinated with actions by the campaign. While this could have been purely coincidental, that seems unlikely under these circumstances. In that respect, it is important to note that the report stopped short of directly implicating the President in collusion but did not conclude that no collusion or criminal conspiracy did not take place.

Similarly, the President has claimed that the investigation found that there was no obstruction of justice. This is similarly untrue. The second volume of the report, which covered the obstruction of justice side of the investigation did not directly clear the President or any other Administration official of obstructing justice. Indeed, as Mueller said in his May press appearance, ” “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller and his investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.” That, of course, leads to the logical conclusion that if Trump were not currently President, he most likely would have been indicted by the Special Counsel. Whether Mueller will come right out and say this, though, remains to be seen, but if he did it would be quite the political bombshell.

Republicans, meanwhile, should be concerned about being seen as attacking Mueller and his investigation by pursuing the bizarre conspiracy theories about the investigation that have been floating around Fox News Channel and conservative media. While this may play well with the conservative base and would get plenty of positive news coverage from the propaganda network that includes Fox and much of the rest of conservative media, the odds are quite high that they’ll just come across looking like fools. Such attacks on the integrity of the investigation also create the risk of pushing Mueller too far and leading him to push back. In that respect, as I said earlier this week, Republicans would do well to remember what happened when Hillary Clinton sat down before the Select Committee investigating the attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. By the time that was over, the Republicans on the Committee had clearly been beaten and Clinton was able to put the Benghazi issue behind her for the remainder of the election cycle. Clinton had basically torn the entire GOP case to shreds and, indeed, after that day there was barely a peep out of the Republican House or any of the candidates for President, including Trump, about an investigation that had basically been utterly discredited. Republican efforts to discredit Mueller and his investigation are likely to backfire and leave the GOP with egg on its face.

In addition to focusing attention on a potential 2020 campaign message for Democrats, the outcome of the hearings could also have an impact on the internal debate within the House Democratic Caucus about whether or not to pursue impeachment charges against the President:

No one will be watching Robert Mueller’s testimony Wednesday closer than Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The former special counsel’s appearance is viewed by both supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump’s impeachment as a tipping point in the debate that’s roiled Democrats — and which Pelosi has spent months working to stifle.

For Democratic leaders, a mostly unspoken but widely understood goal since taking back the House has been to shepherd the caucus into the August recess without launching impeachment proceedings. They now have to hang on just three more days.

Backers of the push to oust Trump don’t necessarily disagree. They see Mueller’s appearance as their best shot to deliver a jolt of momentum to the effort — or watch the steadily growing support for impeachment sputter out over the six-week break.

When asked if Mueller’s testimony was a crossroads in the impeachment debate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told POLITICO: “It could be.”

“It’s like John Dean’s testimony,” he said of the White House counsel under President Richard Nixon who blew the Watergate investigation wide open. “It came up that there was a recording — but nobody knew that was going to happen before the hearing.”

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who has recently come out in favor of starting the process to impeach, said Mueller’s testimony is the “turning point that we know we have right in front of us.”

“The fact that it’ll be Mueller himself, in his own words, contextualized by the questions that are being asked, it could move some members that had been leaning toward impeachment.”

Mueller’s reluctant testimony — forced via a subpoena after months of negotiations with senior lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels — is the most highly anticipated event in Democrats’ sprawling campaign to investigate every aspectof Trump’s administration, financials and personal life.

Publicly, Pelosi this week said little about the hearing.At one point on Tuesday, she threw her hands up when asked what her message to the caucus was ahead of Mueller’s appearance. She later told reporters she was looking forward to “the truth” from Mueller’s testimony.

“I have a busy schedule because we have a legislative day job here, but I’m going to watch as much as I can in my office,” Pelosi said.Pelosi didn’t raise the Mueller hearings at private leadership meetings Tuesday night, according to multiple sources.

Still, in private, Pelosi has been preaching caution in the run-up to Muller’s appearance, recently urging members in a closed-door meeting neither to “hype” or “underplay” expectations, according to multiple sources. Let Mueller himself do the job of making the case against Trump to the American public, Pelosi said.

“It is valuable as he presents … It is devastating, it is pointing out how the president has obstructed justice really so many times,” Pelosi told Democrats, according to a source in the room.

“This coming election, it is really an election that the fate of this country is riding on. This presidency is an existential threat to our democracy and our country as we know it,” she added.

The pro-impeachment wing has long believed Mueller’s testimony could be a trigger for dozens more of their colleagues to come out in support, who they say have been holding out for the special counsel to appear on Capitol Hill. If they can win over roughly 28 members, impeachment backers will make up a majority of the 235-member Democratic caucus — which some members see as a key threshold for leadership.

“I think virtually every Democrat wants to be in favor of impeachment, and I think the hearings should help a lot of members get there,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), a vocal supporter of ousting the president.

“I think they all know the president has committed impeachable offenses, and they want to be able to take a position that holds him accountable,” Yarmuth said.

Impeachment backers have been trying to keep the appearance of momentum, with a trickle of Democrats coming out in support every few days in June. And the effort received an even bigger boost last week when 94 Democrats joined Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) in supporting his unsuccessful motion to impeach Trump.

But Pelosi and other senior members of the caucus may never be won over. They still see impeachment as bad politics and a doomed endeavor they fear could cost them control of the House, especially since the GOP-controlled Senate would never impeach Trump. And public polling on the issue continues to back them up.

Even if a majority of the Democratic caucus decided to endorse the idea after Wednesday’s hearing, it’s unlikely to persuade Pelosi, who has said she’s unwilling to move ahead without broad bipartisan support.

“I expect a few more members to jump on the impeachment inquiry bandwagon. It’s not going to make any difference though,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who recently came out in favor of launching an inquiry.

“This is a historical, legacy issue for [Pelosi]. A bunch of members going one way or another isn’t going to make a lot of differences.”

“The speaker is thinking about the country and about history. She’s not counting votes on this. Not yet,” Himes said.

Senior Democrats are gambling that after the August break, when the spotlight shifts more toward the presidential contest, many of their members will be less interested in forcibly removing Trump and instead will focus on beating him at the ballot box.

Absent a bombshell coming out of Mueller’s testimony, which seems unlikely given what is in the report and Mueller’s own disposition has revealed in his previous 88 appearances before Congressional Committees as both a Justice Department official and F.B.I. Director. This means that advocates for impeachment such as Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler are not going to get much help today or that the feelings of the House Democratic Caucus are going to change significantly from today to tomorrow on the issue. An additional impediment facing advocates for impeachment is the fact that the hearings are being held just days before the House departs on a six-week summer recess during which they are likely to hear from constituents what the polls are reflecting, namely that most Americans are not focused on impeachment and instead want to see Congress focused on issues such as health care, the economy, and other issues. If that’s what members find in their time away from Congress, then the momentum for impeachment is likely to slow down significantly.

The hearings begin at an atypically early hour for Washington D.C., with the House Judiciary Committee scheduled to gavel in beginning at 8;30 a.m. EDT for three hours of hearings and the Intelligence Committee set to begin its two hours of hearings at 11:30 a.m. These times may shift somewhat given the nature of such hearings, but if everything goes according to schedule then the entire process should be over with by early afternoon on the East Coast and late morning on the West Coast. The hearings will be covered widely, of course, by all three cable news networks, by the broadcast networks, and by C-Span. Additionally, there will be a variety of live Internet streamings of the hearings for those who won’t be near a television. I’ve also posted the YouTube embed for the hearings so you should be able to watch the hearings while they are going on below, and then watch the entire proceedings after they have concluded.

I will keep this post at the top of the blog until the hearings are over this afternoon. In the meantime, there will be other posts on other topics this morning for those whose attention is focused elsewhere. We’ll be back with post-hearing posts about all of this later today or tomorrow, of course. In the meantime, consider this post an additional open forum to discuss the hearing itself.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, Intelligence, Law and the Courts, National Security, Russia, Russia Investigation, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Meh.
    Much ado about nothing.
    Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

    I fully expect this to be more or less a nonevent as Mueller pretty much sticks to his report interspersed with moments of hilarity when the leading lights of the GOP just can’t help themselves.

    I think one underrated feature of #MuellerHearing is the ferocity with which Republicans on the committees will step on their own dicks.

    — Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) July 24, 2019.

    I’ll catch the low lights tomorrow morning.

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  2. Hal_10000 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Agreed. Everyone’s building this up but drama is not Mueller’s style.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I’m enjoying all the Representatives rushing as fast as possible through their question, only for Mueller to slowly ask them to repeat it, multiple times.

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  4. Kathy says:

    I think the phrase Democrats, and frankly a great many of us, are looking for is “deus ex machina.”

    That’s not gonna happen.

    Yes, the Mueller report is quite damning, and warrants further investigation by Congress, and might lead to impeachment. But there won’t be a dramatic, sure-fire, smoking-gun piece of evidence that leads even some of Dennison’s supporters to turn against him.

    I’m not talking only about the Mueller hearings, but also the Cheeto’s tax returns, the various lawsuits against him, anything he says or does, etc. Won’t happen.

    The cure for the Orange Syndrome is the 2020 election. And not just the presidential election, though that’s the most important, but also as big a win as can be gotten in the House, Senate, and state elections.

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  5. Kit says:

    @Kathy:

    The cure for the Orange Syndrome is the 2020 election.

    I’m afraid there is no cure: the disease is incurable and fatal. The only question in my mind is whether the entire Republic must die or only Trump’s supporters (of old age)

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Kit: The Republican Party and its supporters have been walking away from integrity for years. And it’s so completely stupid. They’re greedily grabbing at short-term power, ignoring the damage they are doing to the total structure of government and how it operates. We had a huge number of unwritten rules that were used to provide checks and balances–the “etiquette” of politics, if you will.

    This is how revolutions occur. At some point the great unwashed get fed up and say to themselves “why should we continue following the rules? After all, the guys in power aren’t!” And then the people in power discover the hard way that there are many more of the lumpenproletariat than the rulers.

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  7. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Your post reminds me of one of my favorite Molly Ivins quotes, “It’s one thing to step on your d!ck but Williams just stood there and stomped on his.”

  8. Andrew says:

    “US attorney general William Barr says Americans should accept security risks of encryption backdoors.”
    https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/23/william-barr-consumers-security-risks-backdoors/

    As far as Mueller today. If anything, in a week or two once the sound bites makes away around the world a few times. That is when we shall see whom the hearing benefited more politically.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: The Trumpskyites think they are the revolution.

    Once a regime is entrenched, revolution is hard. The Russian communist party made it almost 90 years. The Chinese communist party seems to be going strong past 70. The Cuban government almost as long. The German and Italian fascist governments pretty much up to their surrenders in WWII.

    I think it was J. K. Galbraith who pointed out there’s never been a successful revolution that amounted to more than kicking down a rotted door, and a “permanent Republican majority” would get to that point quickly. Almost there now. But once they get de facto control of the media revolution will be very hard. Why do you think Barr is so hot to get back doors on encryption?

  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This is the Dems big chance…and they are choking.

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  11. Guarneri says:

    The few times I’ve tuned in Mueller comes off like a doddering old man. Not surprising. Its been clear he was a figurehead. Hillary’s campaign donors and attorneys, excuse me, Mueller’s assembled staff, ran this whole thing.

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  12. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This is how revolutions occur. At some point the great unwashed get fed up and say to themselves “why should we continue following the rules? After all, the guys in power aren’t!” And then the people in power discover the hard way that there are many more of the lumpenproletariat than the rulers.

    Around the time I started to comment here, I wrote about the parallels I saw between the US and the late Roman republic, around the time of the Gracchi brothers. They did a fair amount of breaking the norms and rules, although it was to help dispossessed Roman farmers, at a time when the nobility and the wealthy were accumulating more land and wealth for themselves. The aristocracy wasn’t so much breaking the norms, as refusing to comply with the law regarding the use of “public” lands.

    What I learned from this, is that it doesn’t matter who starts breaking the norms, or why they do, but rather that norm-breaking becomes the standard. This drives a spiral of rule and norm breaking that has to end in a nasty conflict, because the existing institutions no longer work.

    I don’t suppose the conflict has to be armed, but there’s a good chance some group frustrated with the situation may decide to take up arms. The number of guns available in the US is a concern, as is the amount of military hardware. Consider governors have power over their states’ National Guard units, which are equipped with tanks, missiles, planes, etc.

    After the conflict, a new order emerges. it may be unstable and consolidate, or it may degenerate into further conflict. Eventually a new stable order does emerge, but it won’t work the same way the previous one had. I refer you to the Roman Empire, Soviet Russia, the various French Republics and restored Monarchies (including Napoleon’s reign), Maduro’s Venezuela, Pinochet’s Chile, Castro’s Cuba, Red China, even the Constitutional monarchy arrived at in Great Britain, or America herself after independence from Great Britain.

    I don’t think conflict is inevitable, but I don’t know that it isn’t. I suppose people on both parties might like to limit the power their respective bases hold, which is driving most of the divisions in America today. But few, if any, prominent politicians are even talking about this.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Doddering? This from a full-time Trump toady? That’s rich.

    Trumpies have nothing to say on the question of anyone’s mental capacity. Morons groveling to an imbecile.

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  14. Not the IT Dept. says:

    If this appearance is all a big nothing-burger, why is Trump losing his mind on Twitter about it?

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  15. al Ameda says:

    This is the highlight moment:

    @tedlieu: “The reason…you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?”

    Mueller: “That is correct.”

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  16. Teve says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: he is fuckin losing it.
    Read these chronologically, from the bottom up.

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    ·
    3h
    KEEP AMERICA GREAT!

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    ·
    3h
    NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    ·
    3h
    So why didn’t the highly conflicted Robert Mueller investigate how and why Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted and acid washed 33,000 Emails immediately AFTER getting a SUBPOENA from the United States Congress? She must have GREAT lawyers!

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    ·
    4h
    Why didn’t Robert Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats spend any time investigating Crooked Hillary Clinton, Lyin’ & Leakin’ James Comey, Lisa Page and her Psycho lover, Peter S, Andy McCabe, the beautiful Ohr family, Fusion GPS, and many more, including HIMSELF & Andrew W?

    Yes, why didn’t Mueller investigate himself, a mystery for the ages. 😛

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  17. Mister Bluster says:

    President Pud loves the Communist murderous dictator of North Korea, trusts the murderous ruler of Russia and “grabs them by the pvssy”.

    All prime reasons that Republican Man worships him.

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  18. charon says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    If this appearance is all a big nothing-burger, why is Trump losing his mind on Twitter about it?

    Because his senility has progressed beyond the level at which rational behavior is in his wheelhouse?

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  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    Wow…didn’t take you long to parrot the talking points.
    What a pathetic sycophant…the rule-of-law party has been reduced to a Trump Cult.

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  20. Jen says:

    They were just noting on NPR that Mueller’s demeanor contrasts with his prior appearances before Congress when he was in charge of the FBI, and that he does seem older.

    Well, of course. He *is* older. But compare his sentence structure and demeanor of 30 years ago and today. Then do the same for Trump.

    Which of the two would provide a clearer picture of cognitive decline?

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  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:
    Mueller is clearly NOT addicted to adderall, like Individual-1 is.

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  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    The Trumpskyites think they are the revolution.

    As someone once noted, it’s weird to hear Tump supporters constantly complain about cultural Marxism, when they agree with the Marxist worldview about everything except which side they intend to fight for in the inevitable class war they think is coming.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @Andrew:

    If anything, in a week or two once the sound bites makes away around the world a few times. That is when we shall see whom the hearing benefited more politically.

    I think that’s the most sensible reaction. I wasn’t optimistic about this hearing to begin with, and I haven’t been terribly surprised by what I’ve seen thus far. But we need to wait until the dust settles before passing judgment.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    Because insecure narcissists covering up crimes and misbehavior can’t abide any criticism, especially of their crimes.

    Oh, and the longer and louder the alpha sheep bleats in terror, the more sheep gather around him.

  25. Guarneri says:

    LOL

    Jim Jordan made a clown out of Mueller, and Radcliffe professionally embarrassed him.

    The Jordan questioning is like an old Cheech and Chong skit. Jordan: You acknowledge the scope of your investigation is to determine if the Russians meddled in the election and if Trump conspired with him. Mueller: Yes. Jordan: You had time to interrogate hundreds of people and indict several, some on totally unrelated matters. Mueller: Yes. So can you tell me why you didn’t investigate the guy who started this all, Misfud. Mueller: Misfud? Misfud? Misfud’s not here. Jordan: How about Chris Steele and his FISA critical “dossier?” Mueller: Steele? Steele? Steele’s not here.

    And Radcliffe just schooled him on the law, and made a fool of him.

    What a shixt show.

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  26. Guarneri says:

    @al Ameda:

    Which he has now been forced to recant. Yes, a highlight moment.

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  27. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @al Ameda: Sadly, Mueller has “clarified” that statement and neutered it entirely.

    Overall, color me disappointed but not surprised. Mueller is an excellent leader/bureaucrat in a functioning system. But he’s not the sort to rise above the fray to lead when things are breaking down.

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  28. Teve says:

    this is my favorite thing so far, I just took a screenshot in case he deletes it. Donald Trump jr. is trying to mock Robert Mueller:

    Donald Trump Jr.
    @DonaldJTrumpJr
    .
    @replouiegohmert
    to Meuller: Who wrote your comments at the last DoJ presser?

    Mueller: I’m not going to comment on that

    Gohmert: I got it you didn’t write them

    Muller: smirks unhappily.
    9:44 AM · Jul 24, 2019

    Meuller, Mueller, Muller.

  29. Andrew says:

    @Guarneri:

    Ex-wrestlers say congressman knew about alleged Ohio State sex abuse

    https://nypost.com/2018/07/03/ex-wrestlers-say-congressman-knew-about-alleged-ohio-state-sex-abuse/

    Again, the adults are talking. Please go back to playing.

    As Republicans only wish to undermine Mueller. Let’s not forget Jim Jordon covered up child abuse and sexual assaults.
    Mueller has never given one any a reason to question his honor, or patriotism. Except when propaganda is squeezed out the anus America calls right-wing “news.”

    Jim Jordan? He’s a an evil man who sells out children for power.
    Another P.O.S. trying to drag down a war hero to his level.

    Legs? None to stand on.

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  30. SenyorDave says:

    From CBS News:
    Mueller is asked what he wants the American people to get out his report. He calls it “a signal, a flag, to those of us who have some responsibility in this area, to exercise those responsibilities swiftly and don’t let this problem continue to linger”

    Gee, I wonder who that is directed towards?

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  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    Dude…we get it…you want “Your Guy” to be above the law. You care not one whit that Russia is attacking us…still. We get it. You don’t give a fuq about America…only Trump.

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: On the other side of the equation, who would be more likely to being past one’s prime? Transference is a real phenomenon; don’t discount it.

  33. SenyorDave says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: You don’t give a fuq about America…only Trump.
    That’s what I don’t get about the Trump cult. Even if you like his policies, there is no getting around the fact that Russia interfered with the election, and as you said, is still doing it. And that members of his inner circle have admitted to going to meetings where Russian assistance in the campaign was to be discussed.
    And this is aside from all the Trump “qualities” that we know of. These are objective facts:
    He helped to run a fake university that scammed people out of money
    He stole from his own charity
    He was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women
    He has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault
    He has lied thousands of times in less than two and a half years as president
    He recently tweeted out overtly racist statements about four members of Congress
    He okayed policies that resulted in inhumane condition for children
    Seriously, how can any person be okay with Trump at this point? As Darryl said, you really have to just not give a fuq about the country.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @SenyorDave:

    When the “following orders” defense was presented at Nuremberg, I wonder how many of the accused were eager, not just willing, to follow those orders.

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  35. CSK says:

    @SenyorDave: Cult45 doesn’t care about that. Trump is an oaf, a boor, and a boob who owns (they think) the libs. That’s all that matters.

  36. SenyorDave says:

    @Kathy: I’ve wondered that sort of thing myself, especially with respect to the cult of Trump. And there has never been any parallel in my lifetime to the cult of Trump. I don’t understand how anyone can blindly follow any person, much less a semi-literate degenerate like Trump.
    I started watching The Man in High Castle recently, and I’m about halfway through it (I’m a very slow binge watcher, maybe an episode every two days). The show is set in 1962 in an alternate reality where the Axis powers win WW2, and the US is divided into three parts: the east becomes the Great Nazi Reich, the west is the Japanese Pacific States, and there is a Neutral Zone between the two, consisting of parts of CO, NM, MT, ID, WY, UT, and TX).
    The show has the Germans stridently imposing maintaining their Nazi philosophy on the eastern US, with extermination of Semites and racial purity laws, while the Japanese seem to somewhat more relaxed in any imposition of their culture. One of the main characters is John Smith, a former GI who rises to the level of a senior Nazi general. Much of the American population seems to have adopted the Nazi philosophies. Initially I thought this was the weakest premise of the whole show – I mean who could imagine significant numbers Americans in less than 20 years going along with the Nazis? The more I think it the last fantastic it seems. Trump has surrounded himself with people who just keep moving the goalposts in terms of his abhorrent behavior, and senior GOP leaders just go with the flow. Imagine if there really was a situation where this country was occupied? Mitch McConnell has sold out the country for power, what would he do if his safety was in jeopardy?

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  37. Kathy says:

    @SenyorDave:

    I wonder about such things, too. I can understand willing collaborators, to some extent, in a conquered land where the occupier is brutal and cruel, and collaboration is a means of getting by largely unharmed. But eager collaborators with things like Nazi Germany is something else.

    Still, after WWII, when the full extent of Nazi depravity, brutality, and cruelty was exposed, there arose neo-Nazis in various countries. For that matter, the Soviets were about as brutal, and gathered even more sympathizers, though their brutality and cruelty did not get the same level of exposure.

    It’s such things that lead one to think humanity is hopeless.

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  38. Guarneri says:

    Keep spinning people. This is like election night.

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  39. SenyorDave says:

    @Guarneri: You still have never really answered the two basic questions. What do you like so much about Trump, and why do you ignore his complete lack of morals?

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  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    @Guarneri for the last few months: Exonerated, exonerated, exonerated!

    Q: Did you exonerate Trump?
    Mueller: Nope.

    @Guarneri today: Yay, we won because Mueller’s old!

    #Cult45 thinking.

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  41. Jax says:

    I think it was a Republican from Colorado who asked the question “”Was there sufficient evidence to convict President Trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice?” Buck asked.

    “We did not make that calculation,” Mueller said, citing the OLC opinion.

    Buck later asked, “Could you charge a president with a crime after he left office?”

    “Yes,” Mueller replied.

    “You believe that he committed — you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?” Buck continued.

    “Yes,” Mueller answered.

    They should run that, over and over, from the highest towers. Saturate the airwaves. All Democratic candidates should campaign on revising laws regarding who can run for President, to begin with (You can be a felon and still run for President, so if he loses in 2020, gets indicted and convicted, he could still run again from prison, if I’m understanding it correctly), and then get after the emoluments laws.

    I think we’re all sick and tired of this bullshit. Except Guarneri, he loves it. :-/ We are better than this, regardless of the Guarneri’s in our mix.

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  42. Guarneri says:

    Fusion GPS. Uh, Fusion GPS. What is that, a new band?

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  43. Guarneri says:

    I’m not tired of winning………..

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  44. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: Well, Trump and Barr did “chain the dog”. You’re surprised nothing came out of that? Despite the hog tie? It’s not really “winning” if you had to cheat to win. 😉

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  45. Jax says:

    Someday ICE is gonna be under a different President, Guarneri, do you really want the precedent where they can hold US citizens indefinitely if they doubt their paperwork? They’ll ask for all your social media passwords and check out your shit. Perhaps you need detaining, should your social media posts indicate you need re-education.

    Do we really want to go there? It’s your choice, man, you call it winning, to “own the libs” and “get rid of the brown people”. There is a whole host of “rights” that may be shot down on this path, including your own.

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  46. Not the IT Dept. says:

    And a troll has succeeded in taking over the thread again because most of you can’t resist getting distracted.

  47. Teve says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: guarneri acts like a dumb asshole. People like beating up dumb assholes on the internet, that’s in Ecclesiastes 1:9.

  48. Jax says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: I know, sorry. I even thought “Don’t Feed the Troll” to myself as I hit Post Comment last night. 😉