Tim Donner: It is hard to imagine a steeper fall from grace than that experienced by one Robert Mueller this past week. The former special counsel in whom the left invested so many of their hopes to take down President Trump went before two congressional committees and was reduced from a paragon of competence, integrity, and honor to a doddering old man stumbling over and over, seemingly uninformed about his own report.
Both sides of the political divide agreed that it was an embarrassing performance for Mueller to leave as his swan song. If you listen to one of the members of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), the day before Mueller testified, you can hear how Democrats were anticipating that Americans watching on TV would witness a powerful and damning indictment of the president.
Ted Lieu: Their minds may be blown because they’re going to see facts that they never saw. They’re going to be seeing that the president directed his White House counsel to fire the special counsel. That’s a crime. They’re going to see that the president directed his White House counsel to then cover that up and create a fake document. That’s a second crime. And they’re going to see that he directed Corey Lewandowski to ask Jeff Sessions to limit their investigation into Donald Trump. That’s a third crime.
Tim: But when the day came for Mueller to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning and the Intelligence Committee in the afternoon, this is what we got …
Robert Mueller: Don’t use the word collusion. The word, uh, we usually use, uh, is not, uh, collusion. It’s, uh… Can you read that or can you repeat the question? … Could you repeat the question for me again? … I’m sorry. What was the question? … You read the last question … Can you repeat the question? … You repeat the last part of that question because that went a little fast for me … You’re going to have to repeat that for me … Can you repeat the question? I’m sorry … Could you repeat that one? I apologize … Can you start it again? I’m sorry … Could you again repeat the question? … Pardon me? Sorry … Can you move the microphone a little closer? (Democrat congressman) Director, please to speak into the microphone. (Mueller) I’m sorry. Thank you … (Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler) Director, could you speak more directly into the microphone? … (Mueller) I’d have to look more closely at the statute. (Republican congressman) I just read it to you … (Mueller) I have no knowledge on either … Don’t know that for sure … I am not familiar with that … I’m not going to comment on that … I’m not going to try to explain that … I’m not going to speak to that … Can’t get into that … That’s not in my purview … Was outside our purview.
Tim: It was almost sad to watch this faded Washington antiquity, Mueller — until you realize how many lives were ruined by his investigation, which turned up nothing other than crimes committed long before the Trump campaign got started in the case of Paul Manafort or alleged false statements during the Mueller investigation in the case of George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone.
And Mueller refused to answer any questions about the origins of his investigation, namely the story about Russians hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails that was planted with the unwitting Papadopoulos by the mysterious Joseph Mifsud, who lied to investigators but, unlike the Trump allies, was not indicted for making false statements. Mueller evaded all the questions about that and put to him by Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH).
Jim Jordan: When the special counsel’s office interviewed Mifsud, did he lie to you guys, too?
Robert Mueller: Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: Did you interview Mifsud?
Robert Mueller: Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: Is Mifsud Western intelligence or Russian intelligence?
Robert Mueller: Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: Lot of things you can’t get into.
Tim: Can’t get into that. Lot of things you can’t get into, like the things Attorney General William Barr is now investigating, whether spying on the Trump campaign conducted by and admitted to by the Obama Justice Department was warranted. Jordan carried on.
Jim Jordan: Maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusation started. Maybe it’s to go back and actually figure out why Joseph Mifsud was lying to the FBI, and here’s the good news. Here’s the good news. That’s exactly what Bill Barr’s doing, and thank goodness for that. That’s exactly what the attorney general and John Durham are doing. They’re going to find out why we went through this three-year saga and get to the bottom of it.
Tim: So how bad was Mueller? Well, so bad that even the anti-Trump leftists in the media panned his performance, like Jeremy Bash on MSNBC.
Jeremy Bash: Far from breathing life into the report, it kind of sucked the life out of the report. I thought he was boring. I thought in some cases he was a 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. And I thought it really was in a very ineffective defense of his own work.
Tim: And over on CNN, Trump basher Phil Mudd said the Democrats, and him for sure, were let down big time.
Phil Mudd: Two words, they should shut up. They might see some indication of wrongdoing. A, as you’re suggesting, they will never reach the end of this in 15 months, and B, it’s going to divide America. So if you can’t reach a conclusion, and if it’s bad for the country, regardless of whether you see some evidence of wrongdoing, do you think that you should pursue this? If you think Americans are going to say, I’m going to watch this show, paint drying for another 15 months, leave me alone. Find something else like health care to worry about.
Tim: Indeed, Mueller showed that he was likely barely involved in the operations of his own investigation, and it gave credence to the widespread reports that it was his deputy, the virulently anti-Trump investigator, Andrew Weissmann, who was really running the show, with Mueller serving as a mere figurehead. Chuck Rosenberg, legal analyst for MSNBC, put this week’s Mueller movie in final perspective.
Chuck Rosenberg: Occasionally, the books are better than the movies. In this case, the book was much better than the movie, but nothing of substance changed.
Tim: So chalk up another swamp creature unmasked by President Trump. Mueller has been exposed for his central role in trying like hell to kneecap the 45th president but, like all the others, failing to close the deal. Meanwhile, the president continued to go after the Squad in his ongoing efforts to depict the Democrats as extreme leftists, this time going after A-O-C cohort Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who it turns out was actually caught on camera at a Trump rally in 2016 screaming and carrying on and had to be dragged out by security.
President Trump: I watched her this morning. She’s vicious. She’s like a crazed lunatic. She’s screaming. This is before she got into Congress. Who elected her? She’s screaming like a total lunatic at one of our rallies. This is not a sane person, folks. She called our country and our people garbage. That’s worse than deplorable. Remember deplorable? Oh, yes, you do. Remember Hillary, the deplorables? She actually said a word that was worse. She said deplorables are, what was the second word? Go ahead. Irredeemables.
Tim: As Trump fends off these slings and arrows of the left that he’s driven to the point of insanity, so must the new prime minister of England, Boris Johnson, fend off the pro-EU crowd. Johnson’s a fiercely pro-Brexit Tory who succeeds the failed Teresa May and promises to close the deal on Brexit.
Boris Johnson: It has become clear that there are pessimists at home and abroad who think after three years of indecision that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016, and in this home of democracy, we are incapable of honoring a democratic mandate. And so I am standing before you today to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong. The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters, they are going to get it wrong again. The people who bet against Britain are again to lose their shirts, because we’re going to restore trust in our democracy.