Bob Mueller will testify before two congressional committees on July 17, a day which promises to be the worst day of his life. The problem for Mueller is that even though the Democrats have called these hearings, Republicans get to ask questions too, a prospect which will have Mueller quaking in his Gucci loafers.
Mueller’s 10-minute press conference in the wake of the release of his 448-page report was unimpressive, to say the least. Everybody’s faculties diminish with time, and Mueller stumbled and doddered his way through his prepared statement - likely written by someone else - and then left without taking a single question.
And he will be testifying under duress. Adam Schiff made it clear on Rachel Maddow’s program that this was not a friendly subpoena. Mueller doesn’t want to be anywhere near that hearing room on that day, and neither do the members of his hit squad, the Democratic partisan hacks and Hillary supporters he recruited to help him get Donald Trump’s hide.
As he explained then (emphasis mine), “There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office will not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he added. “The work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony.”
Parsing Muellers’s words: “The reason I’m not taking questions is I’ve nothing else to say, and neither does my team. We’ve completely cleared the president of collusion with Russia - doggone it -, and Bob Barr - the only one who can make the call - has cleared the president of obstruction of justice. In other words, I spent $35 million and utterly and abjectly failed in my assignment to lead a coup d’état against the President of the United States, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I want to go somewhere and hide from everybody.”
What Mueller wants to avoid at all costs are questions from the really sharp Republicans on the Judiciary committee. Doug Collins, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and John Ratcliffe will eviscerate him. They’ll want to know at what point exactly he knew that there was no Trump-Russia collusion (best estimates are 17 months before the report came out). They’ll want to know why, in flat defiance of DOJ policy, he included an entire volume of derogatory information on a subject (the president) who was not going to be indicted. They’ll want to know why he waited until AFTER the 2018 election to release his report - was it to tip the scales on behalf of his Democrat buddies? And the list goes on.
They’ll want to know exactly when Mueller’s team figured out that the Steele dossier was completely manufactured without any corroborating evidence, and why he or his team vouched and swore for it four times before a FISA judge claiming every detail was verified and confirmed.
The Republicans can take each of the 11 possible obstruction cases Mueller listed, and have Mueller walk through them one by one under questioning. That will only reveal how weak any obstruction charge would have been and make clear to everyone exactly why Bob Barr concluded there was nothing prosecutable there.
The chances are slim to none that Mueller actually wrote his report. He was virtually AWOL from the investigation for the last year or so, and his fundamental ignorance of the details of the investigation will be revealed under questioning. He is likely to stumble and bumble his way through the whole thing and wind up looking really bad. Not the way you want to be remembered. Putting Mueller through this may even be an example of cruelty and elder abuse on the part of the Democrats.
This whole thing smacks of desperation on the Democrats’ part. Adam Schiff is seeing his media attention dwindle to nothing, and he doesn’t like it. This hearing will not further the cause of justice, and it may permanently and irretrievably damage Bob Mueller’s reputation, but it will get Adam Schiff back on TV.
You’ve probably seen those foot-pump inflators for rafts and such. The picture that comes to my mind is of a Trump-Russian collusion raft lying completely deflated on the beach. The raft is deflated because Bob Mueller stuck a knife through it and let all the air out. The Democrats are taking turns jumping up and down on the foot pump in a frantic effort to get some air in the raft. It’s not going to work.