The Thinker: Rich Galen


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The Mueller Hearings

Rich Galen

Thursday July 25, 2019

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  • The two hearings in the U.S. House yesterday - Judiciary and Intelligence - were another example of the old adage: Be careful what you wish for; you may get it.

  • The Democrats who control the House and therefore all the committees had been wishing for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify since forever.

  • There are 40 Members of the Judiciary Committee (23D/17R) and there are 22 Members of Intel (13D/9R)

  • After fits and starts and a minute request by Mueller for a wingman, and last day instructions from Main Justice to Mueller about staying in his lane, yesterday was the day.

  • Mueller stunk.

  • The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee went from 8:30 to about noon with a couple of breaks. Mueller acted and sounded like he had overslept and didn't have time to stop off at Starbuck's for his triple pump, extra-hot, venti, latte.

  • The way these almost always work is: The Chairman (Jerrold Nadler D-NY) went first, the senior Republican (Doug Collins R-Ga) went next, then they alternate one D and one R in descending order for five minutes each. Same thing for Intel where Adam Schiff (D-Ca) is Chairman and Devin Nunes (R-Ca) is Ranking (senior minority member of the committee).

  • The Judiciary Committee is not only large in the number of Members, but the dozens of staffers roaming around trying to get on camera so their moms could see them seemed to confuse Mueller. He couldn't tell who was asking questions and as each Member started, the camera stayed on Mueller as he looked, bewildered, back and forth trying to spot who was speaking.

  • In the Judiciary Committee hearing, the Democrats focused on trying to get Mueller to fall across the witness table sobbing, "I'm so sorry. I SHOULD have indicted Trump for obstruction of justice!"

  • The Republicans focused on why Mueller's team arrested people who lied to them but who were pro-Trump, but didn't arrest people who lied to them and were anti-Trump.

  • And like that.

  • In the Intelligence Committee hearing the focus was on Russian interference and collusion/conspiracy.

  • As in the morning session, Democrats tried to get Mueller to say Trump and his campaign were guilty of getting too cozy with the Russians and with Wikileaks. They were modestly successful although Mueller made it clear that it wasn't illegal and if the Members wanted to make it a crime, the Congress might be the right place to take that up.

  • The Members in both hearings tended to ask questions by citing a page number and paragraph: "On page 107 of Section One in the third paragraph you wrote " By the time Mueller flipped through his binder to find the citation the Member had asked his or her question which Mueller had missed and so they had to do the whole dance again.

  • The Democrats reportedly had convinced themselves that having Mueller actually read aloud sections of the report would make great theater. In the event, the Members had to read the sections to Mueller which was as dramatic as watching me water my flowers.

  • Republicans kept asking about things Mueller said he wouldn't talk about: The Steele Dossier first among them.

  • Mueller had made it clear he would not go beyond the bounds of the written report and he stuck to it.

  • The New York Times counted the number of instances (198) that Mueller refused to respond to a question because the answer was in the report, was out of his lane, or was beyond the scope of his investigation. CNN's count was 206 declines, deflections or demurrals.

  • When he did deign to answer a question it was often with one word: "Yes" or "No" or "True."

  • The net result of the 7 hours of testimony is: If you are a Trump fan you are still a Trump fan. If you are anti-Trump you are disappointed that Democrats won't be opening Impeachment Hearings next Monday, but you are still anti-Trump.

  • In all seriousness, the Russians are coming at our elections again. Whether they're in cahoots with Trump or not.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: Links to the web pages of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intel Committee; to the Steele Dossier, and to the Wikipedia page on Russian interference.

    The Mullfoto is of the one page of the Mueller Report that I actually read.

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