Set your clocks. One week from tomorrow, July 24th, unless the Democrats in the House once again find a way to snatch-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory, Robert Mueller will finally speak his piece, in front of two packed hearing rooms, and an electronic media held hostage by the moment. And then the ball finally starts rolling, one way or the other.
Needless to say, the Republicans are scared shitless, although they’d all rather die in harness than say so. The problem for the Republicans is that they aren’t very artful when it comes to deceit, they tend to wear their intentions on their sleeves. Oh sure, they talk a great fight, but with that innocent “Who, me?” look that the dog gives you while he’s standing next to the broken lamp.
The GOP’s arrogant, confident, condescending pre-battle trash talk follows two lines. First, they claim that the entire exercise is purely political, theater by the Democrats, since Mueller has already stated that he won’t go beyond the “four corners” of his report, and the report is already public. And the GOP members of the committee are already making threatening baa-baa-baa noises about how they’re going to shred Mueller with their white hot questions, exposing his partisan acts and attitude for what they really are.
*sigh* I swear to God, some days it’s an absolute joy to be me. Yes, the Mueller report is public, and has been so for months, but guess what? Am instruction manual came with your surround sound system too, but did you bother to fucking read that? Of course not, that’s what your wife is for, to yell the instructions over to you after your second trip to the ER for self electrocution. Same with the Mueller report, that’s what the media is for. And Robert Mueller is a combat decorated, purple heart veteran. The man has stared down sitting US Presidents, and won. Does anybody honestly thing that Robert Mueller is going to walk into those hearing rooms wearing Depends, because the thought of being confronted by superficial, shallow, strutting little popinjays like Mark Meadows, Matt Gaetz, and Jim Jordan scares the shit out of him? I think not.
The media has it right. They are sating that even if Mueller never strays from the “four corners” of his report, the testimony is going to be both powerful, as well as devastating for Trump. People will have no choice, they’ll have to listen. The testimony will be on every TV that is turned on. In the break room at work, in the common rooms on campuses, in bars and restaurants. Mueller’s testimony is being considered a “public service,” even FOX News is going to have to air it. The media has likened Mueller’s testimony to the difference between reading a book and seeing a movie. The visuals make it come alive.
But to my mind, the media is missing the most important aspects of this. It isb’t so much a matter of what is being said, it’s a matter of who is saying it, and how it’s said. After all, Stephen Hawking can write a book that mathematically either proves or disproves the existence of God, but you need Bill Nye, the science guy to explain that shit so you can understand it. And as anyone who has ever heard one knows, the best audio books are always the ones read by the authors themselves, since they instinctively know how to nuance their tone and inflection to make the book come alive.
And although they’ll never admit it, I think I know what’s scarifying the GOP the most about this upcoming testimony from Mueller. From the day that Robert Mueller was appointed, his investigation was never about obstruction og justice, it was a counter intelligence investigation into the possibility of Russians meddling in the 2016 election. Obstruction of justice was one of those “other matters” that arose that Mueller was authorized to look into. But Mueller’s verdict on conspiracy with the Russians was ambivalent, while he basically did everything but indict Trump on obstruction, so that’s where the attention shifted to. Which was just what the Republicans wanted.
This is what should terrify the Republicans. While Mueller was unable to conclusively state that a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia existed, he also strongly hinted that this was at least partially because such corroborating evidence was unobtainable, either beyond his reach in Russia and Europe, or hidden by witness lies. Mueller never came out and cleared Trump of charges of conspiracy, or even that stupid lesser, non legal term of collusion. He just said that he couldn’t get a conviction in court based on what he had.
Please remember that Mueller both began, as well as ended his nine minute press conference talking about volume one, the Russian interference volume. That part of the investigation obviously sticks in his craw, to this day. And now he’s going to be on the stand. And if the Democrats are smart, they will basically ignore the obstruction question, and hone in on the Russian interference like they are performing laser surgery.
Because Robert Mueller found more than 100 instances of questionable contact between Trump campaign officials, surrogates, and cronies and Russian intelligence sources. But Mueller’s report, especially volume one, is as dry and schematic as those surround sound instructions I talked about earlier. Under effective questioning, Mueller can not only highlight the critical instances, he can draw the inferences that tie them to other suspicious occurrences, and lead the listener to the inevitable conclusions. And “collusion” is what everybody wanted to know in the first damn place.
Here’s the critical part. Mueller pulled back because he could not convict Trump with the evidence he had. But Pelosi and the Democrats aren’t trying to convict Trump, they’re trying to fucking impeach him! And to do that, they don’t have to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt, they just have to convince a majority of the American people that simple logic and common sense proves that Trump is as guilty as original sin[ppp_patron_only]. And whom among us isn’t as logical as hell, and chock full of common sense?
The questioning will tell the story, especially in the Intelligence committee. There is no reason to ask Robert Mueller a single question about obstruction, those crimes are clearly etched in stone in volume two. But it isn’t obstruction that will have the populace of the village grabbing their pitchforks and torches, it’s a criminal consiracy with Russia to make their votes in 2016 as stupid and meaningless as Trump’s oath of office. And properly questioned, Robert Mueller is the one who can take them to that promised land.