I am not going to re-litigate the entire 7 hour “Mueller experience.” That’s not what this is about. It turned out better than I had feared, but not as good as I had hoped for. Actually, I was well pleased with the afternoon session in front of the Intelligence committee. I had written a couple of days ago that this was the session I was most interested in, since the public never signed on for an “obstruction” investigation, Mueller was hired to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, and I was glad to see the remind everyone of Russia’s game, and tie the Trump mob to it with barbed wire. But the Nadler led House Judiciary committee fell flat on their faces. They had a three hour chance to provide the entire nation watching on television with a walking, talking example of obstruction of justice, and they let it slip through their fingers. And it wasn’t like they didn’t have sufficient time to prepare to execute a very simple maneuver, en masse. Robert Mueller was always going to be a reluctant witness, in front of both committees. Mueller made it clear in his nine minute press statement that his report was his testimony, and he had no interest in saying anything more. The negotiations with Mueller took longer than most contested divorces, and they still ended up having to issue a subpoena to ensure his presence. It was already known that Mueller had no interest in responding to any question whose answer was not already in his report. But then, lo and behold, the Democrats received a gift wrapped golden goose. And what did they do? They cut it up and barbecued it for lunch. Two days before Mueller’s appearance, a letter from the DJ surfaced, basically turning Mueller into the character “The Gimp” from Pulp Fiction, complete with choker collar and ball gag. Mueller was not to stray from the answers in his report. He was not to discuss uncharged persons. He was not to discuss internal deliberations, blah, blah, blah. This was a godsend for Mueller, as it gave him a whole cornucopia of excuses to use to refrain from answering questions he already didn’t want to answer anyway. But it was also a godsend for the Democrats, but apparently they didn’t see it, or at least not soon enough. Now, not only am I not a lawyer, but I don’t play one on TV. Or the movies either. Or even summer stock theater. But even a complete nebbish like me knows how every reticent reply from Mueller should have been handled, right from the first questioner; Q: Special Counsel Mueller. Was there any difference opinion when it came to the question of whether or not to subpoena President Trump” A:i am not going to answer that question, since it involves matters of internal discussion and deliberation. A:OK, I see. What you mean is that Attorney General Barr has ordered you not to answer a question that falls well within your purview and you are qualified to answer? BOOM! It really doesn’t matter what Mueller’s response to that is, since the questioner has just given Mueller his excuse, whether he wants it or not, and that’s what the audience is going to remember. That is the response from hell for Trump, […]
If you go over to Donald Trump’s Twitter feed right now, you’ll find this gem. .@realDonaldTrump after the Mueller hearings pic.twitter.com/0J80YZU4qr — Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) July 24, 2019 He’s having a field day. The rest of us heard that Trump couldn’t be indicted for crimes while in office, but could be upon leaving office. But all Trump heard was his usual mantra, “no obstruction” “no collusion.” It’s not even worth repeating all that was said, because none of it sank in. A short while after the hearing Trump went on record saying that, “the Democrats lost so big today. Their party is in shambles. The Squad is leading their party,” and so on and so forth. Trump took what would have been a very sobering moment for anybody in his position and is now spinning it totally in his own favor. Apparently, the fact that U.S. marshals didn’t show up at the White House and perp walk him out, means that he’s fine, just fine. Or, maybe he was encouraged by Mueller saying that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election, “even as we sit here.” That might have given him a boost, knowing that Vladimir is still on the job, looking out for his interests. In all events, the man still appeals to the lowest common denominator and that’s the group of people he plays to at all times, people who don’t read, don’t think, don’t question. People for whom the loudest voice is the one that they follow, thinking that it knows more — I guess. Believe me, I’ve been trying to figure these people out from the get go. I think that his hard core base is completely poisoned by Fox News and living in their own reality, and then there is a group of Americans who voted for Trump either as a lark, to see what an outsider would really do, or merely as a protest vote — being a jerk by voting for an obvious jerk, simply because you could. I have no idea how many of the people in the second group regret their decision and intend to walk a different way in 2020. Maybe they haven’t seen enough destruction in their country yet. The economy is still humming right along and even though Trump did nothing to create that scenario, he sure as hell is taking the credit for it. But the underpinnings are getting shaky and the economy won’t hold up to the beating of Trump’s insane trade deals forever. The chickens will come home to roost — and that may occur during a Democrat’s time in office, assuming we win back the White House in 2020. It is conceivable. In any event, for right now, Trump is speaking in very angry tones, but tweeting about how jubilant he is, an interesting combination. And just for fun, here’s Devin Nunes take on today’s events. Nunes: Democrats refuse to accept reality. They live in an alternative universe. Hopefully this will be the end of these hearings — Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 24, 2019 Nunes is right. We do live in an alternate universe. In the one I live in, a congressman running his own intelligence operation, that even Lindsey Graham derided as “an Inspector Clouseau investigation,” and running tattling to Trump at the […]
There were so many attempts at disinformation, but facts continue to cohere. The afternoon session should be no different in terms of making the #TrumpRussia story clearer in terms of further inquiry. Trump could...
Rep. Will Hurd, a swing-district Republican from Texas, was the only GOP member to use his time in the Intelligence Committee’s hearing of former special counsel Robert Mueller productively and, well, sanely. He’s apparently the...
If it was your instinct to roll your eyes and laugh when the likes of Doug Collins, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs and the rest were going all over the place, but mostly off the walls, as they ripped into Robert Mueller, don’t kid yourself: this was all a deliberate show. Look at the pattern of questioning. When the Democrats spoke, they praised Mueller, thanked him for his service, asked him to read from the report, then did so themselves, and concluded that 1) Trump was not exonerated and 2) Trump would have been indicted, were he not a sitting president. In any normal world, this would have been quite a good morning’s work for the House Judiciary Committee. However, what the Democrats were doing was one show, and the Republicans were engaged in an altogether different narrative. Look for their pattern: when it came their time to question Mueller they 1) yelled at him 2) ranted about the origins of the Steele dossier, which Mueller refused to comment on 3) concluded that Trump and his inner circle were the victims of unfair prosecution, i.e. Trump’s “witch hunt.” Now, this is a crucial point: Mueller made it crystal clear ahead of time that he was only going to address issues already covered within the parameters of the report and the letter from the DOJ ratified that. Nevertheless, the likes of Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz deliberately ignored those ground rules and went for Mueller’s throat, demanding that he speak about the Steele dossier or the origins of the investigation, because those are the talking points and sound bites that they need for Fox News. You don’t need a crystal ball to know that Fox is going to paint Mueller’s testimony as him refusing to give the good congressmen the answers they deserved, because he is hiding some conspiracy to persecute Donald Trump. QAnon, here we come. Chris Cillizza at CNN said that “the whiplash is stark. And means — stop me if you’ve heard this before — that people will likely hear what they want to hear coming out of this hearing.” This is exactly what the Republicans are depending upon. They need to give their constituents bread and circus in order to get reelected and the truth is nothing more than an obstacle to be gotten over so that the true work can begin, that of staying in power. That is who and what the GOP is. Make no mistake, when today’s Republicans behave like complete lunatics, there is method in their madness. We saw it during the Kavanaugh hearing when Lindsey Graham was foaming at the mouth, alongside a yelling Kavanaugh, and we saw it again today. Playing outraged and wounded makes an emotional connection with the base. It all plays back to Trump’s narrative of Evil Democrats trying to turn America into a socialist country and all that blather. The injured party always gets sympathy, or at least noticed, and that’s why they did it. Republicans are counting upon the circus act that the GOP reps in congress put on this morning to get beyond the very damning evidence presented, that the Mueller report never said that there was “no collusion” and most importantly what it says about obstruction. – California Democrat Ted Lieu […]
Starting his testimony at the House Judiciary Committee with a bang, former special counsel Robert Mueller made clear that Donald Trump's favorite tweet—"total exoneration"—was totally fake news. Chairman Jerry Nadler asked the establishing questions. Was it true...
Get your popcorn and peanuts, right here, ladies and gentlemen, and place your bets on whether Donald Trump will be as good as his word on Monday, when he assured reporters at the White House that he couldn’t be bothered with the Mueller report, in a nutshell. Trump said, “No, I’m not going to be watching, probably, maybe I’ll see a little bit of it. I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple. We had no collusion, no obstruction.” Author of “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” Rick Wilson, had an altogether different take on it, which he shared with Nicole Wallace yesterday. RawStory: “That little nervous moment this morning, where ‘I might watch a little’ — no, Donald Trump will be glued to the screen with an IV drip and a catheter,” Wilson predicted. “He will not move during this testimony. This guy will not budge. He will watch every millisecond of it. He’s expecting his show Republican allies to do the show trialing thing and screaming and the hair-tearing and the rending of garments because they need to keep the Fox audience distracted,” he explained. Now, here’s a fun fact for you. Are you sitting down? Wilson says Fox News is not airing the Mueller testimony. “Which should tell you how scared they are about what could happen. It’s going to be a very interesting and consequential moment, they apparently are not taking them live. Everybody else is taking them live,” he noted. “Live TV, wall-to-wall, things break loose. Things happen. Robert Mueller has things in his pocket.” Et tu, Rupert? Well, Trump will have to catch the show somewhere. Wilson isn’t the only pundit in town who thinks Trump will be glued to the screen, either. Here’s Chris Cillizza’s analysis. CNN: So, he won’t be watching. Except maybe he’ll watch a “little bit.” If you believe that, I have a print newspaper industry you might be interested in purchasing. Nothing but upside! Consider what we know of this President: 1) He has, long before getting into politics, been a cable TV addict 2) His TV watching habits haven’t diminished in office — as aides have carved out “executive time” designed for Trump watch the tube and tweet about what he sees 3) He has long fixated on Mueller and the broader special counsel probe, dedicated hundreds of tweets over the past two years to discrediting the investigators and their findings. Cillizza makes a good point: does anybody talk constantly about matters that don’t interest them at all? Nah, didn’t think so. – The Tangerine Traitor protesteth too much, me thinks. Trump will be watching, right along with the rest of us. I wonder whose turn it is to grind valium into his Diet Coke and try to wrestle the phone away from him, so he doesn’t pop a vessel on Twitter? Probably Kellyanne or Ivanka, since Hope and Sarah are gone.
Can somebody explain to me what all the fuss is about Robert Mueller bringing an aide with him when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday, when, if I recall correctly, the Mueller report concluded that there was “no collusion” and “full exoneration?” Just askin’. Because for a man with nothing to fear, Donald Trump sure seems agitated and he’s not the only one. Rumor is that Aaron Zebley (Mueller’s Chief of Staff) will be on the witness panel with Mueller. You don’t get to change the rules right before kickoff, especially after a 22 month, $30 million investigation. — Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 23, 2019 Just got back only to hear of a last minute change allowing a Never Trumper attorney to help Robert Mueller with his testimony before Congress tomorrow. What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before. VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. A rigged Witch Hunt! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019 Politico: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, cautioned that Mueller — not Zebley — would be answering lawmakers’ questions. “Our intention is that Mueller do the testifying and not have someone else do it for him,” Schiff said. “Now, there may be questions that one of his team is better situated to answer of a technical nature. But we don’t want a hearing with Bob Mueller converted to a hearing with someone else.” Both Zebley and James Quarles, another Mueller deputy, initially were expected to testify before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees behind closed doors, but those sessions were called off amid opposition from Attorney General William Barr. Barr has said that Mueller’s deputies should not testify, and he suggested that the Justice Department would move to block them from appearing if the committees issued subpoenas to compel their testimony. It is unclear whether the Justice Department will try to disrupt Wednesday’s arrangement. Again, why all this protest, if “there’s no there, there,” as Trump recently declared on Twitter, while claiming that he’d read the entire Mueller report — which if true, would constitute the biggest intellectual exercise of Trump’s entire life, reading 400 plus pages of material. Now, in the real world, since the Deputy Special Counsel, Zebley, knows about the investigation in detail, he might be able to actually speed things up and provide fine points on key issues, that might otherwise be missed. However, that is apparently exactly what is feared by the Republicans, that Zebley might answer a question that Mueller doesn’t, or elaborate on some point in the report. Bill Barr’s threatening DOJ letter made it very clear that he doesn’t want Mueller to explain anything outside of what is already in writing in the 400 page report, because anything not in writing is “protected by executive privilege.” So, what’s going to happen? [Jerry] Nadler said on Tuesday that Democratic lawmakers have “been operating under the assumption that he’ll do essentially what he said — he’ll stay more or less within the bounds of the report.” But the chairman also said Mueller “does not have to comply” with the Justice Department directives. “He doesn’t work for them,” Nadler said, “and that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the agency to ask even if he still worked for them.” […]
We’ve all seen, heard of, or read about it. A well dressed, well off, PhD who gets skinned down to his skivvies by a 16 y.o. high school dropout with a 3 card monte table on a street corner. And no matter how often we see, hear, or read about it, it’s Donald Trump who has to keep remind us that nothing beats “book smart” like “street chutzpah.” Tomorrow is it, Robert Mueller’s day in the sunshine. And most likely, the Gotterdammerung of the Democratic impeachment hopes. Personally, I believe that the Democrats are going to get 80% of what they want from Robert Mueller tomorrow. And it won’t be enough. Because the one thing that they desperately need is the one thing that he can’t, or won’t give them, an admission that he would have indicted Trump if it were not for that stupid OLC memo. And without that, nothing significantly moves the public opinion needle on impeachment. And all because if one man, Donald Juan Trump. From the moment that Trump realized that his portly tushie was in extremis, he did what any master marketer does, he branded his ass off. From day one, Trump seized, and controlled the branding messaging of the crisis,. And at it’s zenith, only Donald Trump could make the four simple words of “No collusion. Ni Obstruction” as immediately recognizable and as interchangeable as his four word campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The FBI has an open counter intelligence investigation about Russian interference in, and Trump campaign cooperation with an operation to interfere with, and possibly alter the results of, the 2016 Presidential election? “No collusion!’ “Russian hoax! It’s a witch hunt!” And the Democrats only possible response, since unlike the Clinton e-mail server investigation, this one was conducted in a hermetically sealed chamber? “We’ll wait to see what the investigation shows. Which one is simpler and cleaner, and gives more immediate gratification, which most people crave? You tell me. Word gets out that Robert Mueller is now investigating the possibility of obstruction of justice by Trump or administration officials into the election interference investigation? “No collusion! No obstruction!” “It’s all a giant witch hunt, the greatest hoax in American history! being conducted by 13 angry Democrats!” The Democratic response? “We look forward to the final results of the Mueller report, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings. And Donald Trump was religious about this, The Big Lie. He didn’t wait for the topic to come up in any interviews or interactions he had with the media, he initiated it, and it featured prominently in every tweet. “No collusion! No obstruction!” If Trump exercised as seriously as he pushed that narrative, he wouldn’t look so much like Luciano Pavarotti. And then, out of the blue after two years, Mueller’s investigation is completed! The final report is going to be released to the public! Only maybe not so much, what was released was a four page summary by new Trump mouthpiece William “The Ewok” Barr, which, shock and awe, concludes “No collusion! No obstruction!” “A full and complete exoneration!” For three long weeks, that was the only “definitive” conclusion of the Mueller report, spouted by the biggest liars since The Boy Who Cried Wolf! And while it was reported that Mueller had written a letter to Barr, expressing extreme displeasure at the […]
Tomorrow Robert Mueller takes the witness stand to expound upon his 400 page report to Congress. Before you watch that, watch this: a five minute video, starring various Hollywood luminaries, which summarizes the Mueller report. If the common man or woman can’t wrap their head around an explanation this simple, then truly, democracy is doomed. Here’s the Mueller Report summarized in only 5 minutes-RT! #MuellerIsComing pic.twitter.com/RPNrXDga7s — Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 20, 2019 Meryl Streep commented that movie stars are frequently asked their position on political issues, “because we have the podium.” Here, the stars in question not only have the podium, but they have a right to it. Everyone in this clip is politically aware and knowledgeable about the ways of the Trump administration. Hopefully this clip will go viral.