Mueller Investigation

Robert Mueller Was Not Interested in Serving as the Democrats' Performing Monkey, and It Showed

If lawmakers want to impeach Trump they're going to have to deal with the politics of it all and not use the Justice Department as a shield.


Robert Mueller warned y'all.

When Mueller stepped down as special counsel at the conclusion of his investigation over the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, he made two important points in a public statement. One, he wanted his report to speak for itself. Two, he did not want to testify about the report, and if he were forced to do so, his testimony would not extend beyond the report's contents.

Nevertheless, Mueller spent Wednesday testifying before members of Congress. The reviews are now in: He's boring! His energy level is low! He keeps asking them to repeat the questions because he's having a hard time hearing them! And he's not answering their questions the way they want!

Mueller ended up walking back what sounded like a bombshell at first: That he would have recommended obstruction charges against Trump if Trump were not president (he did not make a finding because Trump is the president, but he laid out the evidence for Congress to consider).

"Robert Mueller Is Struggling," is how Politico graded the 74-year-old's testimony today. There are, naturally, loads of tweets about Mueller's lackluster participation. Here's just one:

As one of many journalists who has watched this investigation play out, this is pretty much exactly what I was expecting. My interpretation of the disappointment today is that Democrats in Congress fervently hoped a compelling day of Mueller's testimony would make impeaching Trump seem both more feasible and less political.

Mueller has made it very, very clear in his comments and in his report that it is the role of Congress to decide what to do with the facts he has laid out to them. That means if Democrats want to impeach Trump, they can't use Mueller as a deus ex machina. They'll have to beat Trump in 2020 or impeach him on other grounds.

It's also not Mueller's job to remove politics from the process of impeachment. He's not there to protect either the Democrats or the Republicans from any political fallout that comes with removing a president from office (or, in the GOP's case, refusing to). His job was to provide Congress with the facts he found related to Russian involvement in the 2016 election and Trump's behavior surrounding his investigation. Congress has to decide what to do with those facts. While Mueller's report carefully lays out evidence that could be used to make the case that Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation, Mueller has made it clear that his responsibility, at least with regards to Trump, ended with gathering those facts.

I don't know what Mueller was thinking while he sat there, but it's easy to imagine how exhausting and tiresome it must have been to endure today's proceedings, likely knowing from the very start that the people questioning him were less interested in what he had to say—what he'd in fact already said—than in whether he'd say what they wanted him to say.

NEXT: Robert Mueller's Testimony Convinced Everyone of Exactly What They Already Believed

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  1. That he seemed to not know what was IN his report several times was a concern. And his lack of curiosity over the start of the entire process is ALSO a concern.

      1. Funny line. Gowdy gets them out occassionally.

        1. I don’t know why Reason still assumed Mueller wrote the report since he admitted he had marginal oversight, at best, on the entire process.

          This was Weissman’s baby. Even Barr’s comment on the letter “Mueller” sent him to complain about his press conference (how it sounded like a staffer wrote it) makes sense.

          1. Because then they’d have to mention Weinstein’s history of prosecutorial abuse such as anthrax and arthir Anderson including a 9-0 smackdown by the USSC proclaiming it some of the worst prosecutorial misconduct they’ve ever seen.

          2. If one of the hijackers had just showed up in the ER with cutaneous anthrax, which would not be “skin irritation “ or a single lesion and not been diagnosed and aggressively treated he would probably have died……………………

    1. I recall Letterman interviewing some celebrity on his show and asking about his (the celebrity’s) autobiography. The celebrity said, “I didn’t write it.” Letterman asked another question about what was in the book, and the guest said, “I didn’t read it.”

      1. Barkley

        1. Some white baseball player.

          1. Tebow.

            1. Eddy said baseball player, so no, not Tebow.

              1. Tebow’s in the Mets’ organization

            2. I don’t see Letterman having Tebow on his show.

              1. It was a joke, but Letterman is dead. Dont let the netflix cgi fool you.

    2. That’s enough to warrant a restart of the entire investigation.

      Or just jumping to impeachment. Either way to get to the correct answer.

    3. “Robert Mueller Was Not Interested in Serving as the Democrats’ Performing Monkey but did Nonetheless with an Epic Fail” FTFY

      Another legacy up in smoke. Get me the bellows.

      “And his lack of curiosity over the start of the entire process is ALSO a concern.”
      Well, when the NY Times and Andrew Weissman are one’s only sources it is tough to be truly informed.

      Fusion GPS? What’s that?

      Somebody get Mueller an ear trumpet.

    4. Yeah, it’s pretty clear at this point that he was a figurehead, and the leftards he hired actually did the “work”.


  2. While Mueller’s report carefully lays out evidence that could be used to make the case that Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation, Mueller has made it clear that his responsibility, at least with regards to Trump, ended with gathering those facts.

    That’s not really true. He didn’t make anything clear and in many cases seemed to be muddled confused as to what his role actually was

    1. Brilliant move on his part. I’d play the fool too (wouldn’t be hard) if I were in his position. Fuck having a bunch of mindless hacks ask me questions that I have already written a report on. Unless he forgot to include a copy of tape of Trump receiving a bribe direct from Putin in bag with a big money sign on it, what was this going to accomplish? Nothing but waste money so these idiots can have a clip for a campaign ad.

      1. Except for the fact that the report contained novel distortions of law and didnt contain much exculpatory evidence. It was a political document not a legal one.

        1. Either way he was caught. How could he possibly add anything of substance to the topic without having to explain why it wasn’t in already in the report?

          There was no way for Mueller to go but down.

    2. Other than when Collins directly asked if Mueller’s investigation had been obstructed in any way and Mueller clearly answered “No”.

  3. Mueller has been consistent since the beginning. He was asked to make a report and he did. He was not allowed to indict, and so he did not. In fact, the Republicans were mad that he made explicit that he did not exonerate Trump. According to Republicans that was going to far! Of course, to thinking people that gives up the GOP game.

    Mueller has given the Dems a softball and they are whiffing. They are paralyzed. They know that if they impeach the GOP will make them look like witch hunters. But if they do not impeach they will look like spineless ditherers and witch hunters at the same time. The report says Trump obstructed. Mueller all but said that Trump conspired and the only reason he has no evidence is because Trump obstructed and refused to testify.

    So the Dems have two choices. Look like spineless ditheres and witch hunters or just look like witch hunters. Thinking people know the witch hunter narrative is just a ploy. It’s Trump’s “I know you are but what am I” playbook. So grow a spine and do it Dems. If you don’t you can count on millions of voters staying home on election day.

    1. They’ve already voted on impeaching last week.

    2. If you don’t you can count on millions of voters staying home on election day.

      Yeah I highly doubt that.

      1. None of this shit has changed one person’s vote.

        1. I plan on voting for Trump when I voted GayJay in 2016.

          Thats one vote.

          1. Same. That’s 2 votes. 🙂

              1. Me, too.

                1. Stayed home cause gayjay wasnt worth a protest vote. Mostly planning to vote for the orange asshole next year

    3. “…Thinking people know the witch hunter narrative is just a ploy…”

      Thinking people know you’re a lefty imbecile.

    4. “The report says Trump obstructed.”

      Mueller disagrees. As does anyone who has read the report.

      1. That is what is wrong with obstruction charges in general.

        “Obstruction” is really, really subjective. In this case they had a “making false statements to investigators” charge that the investigators in question said they did not believe was a lie. How that stuck is a mystery.

        In the past they went after Scooter Libby for lying about leaking the name Valerie Plame when they already knew that he wasn’t the person who leaked the name. But they had a reporter who thought he brought it up, so they went after him for lying. Even though it is highly probable that he wasn’t lying. Didn’t matter. They got their man. Even though he wasn’t their man. And they didn’t even charge their man.

        Anyway, the point is that when democrats say “any other person would have been charged”, they are probably right. If a federal prosecutor has a bug up his ass about you, he’ll charge you with obstruction for the most oblique behavior. Claiming you ate at Denny’s for breakfast 3 years ago when it was actually IHOP might be enough to get them to start throwing around felony charges, if they really wanted to. Or asking 5 different people about a conversation you had, and if one of them has differing recollections on any particulars, then they can go after you for lying. Even though memory is imperfect and nobody is going to agree on the content of a conversation from months or years ago.

        But it is our fault. Because we like it when they use these “tools” to get people we don’t like.

    5. “Thinking people”


      1. Adlai Stevenson made it especially funny.

        Woman in the crowd: “Thinking people everywhere are for you, Adlai!”

        Stevenson: “Not enough. I need a majority.”

    6. “your investigation [was] curtailed or stopped or hindered?”

      “No,” Mueller responded.

    7. Barr and Rosenstein both told Mueller multiple times he could indict if he so chose. Mueller replied that he wasnt using OLC guidance to make his decision. Do you care to try again?

      Your claim is basically the SP office is useless, so why bother having the regulation?

    8. ” He was not allowed to indict”

      Nobody at DOJ is “allowed” to indict POTUS. That does not preclude them from identifying indictable offenses.

      Something Mueller did not do.

    9. You : “This women is guilty of witchcraft !”
      Judge : “Do you have any proof ?”
      You : “Yes, she use her magic to make them all disappear !”

  4. Fuzzy? Fugazi? Fusion?

  5. “His job was to provide Congress with the facts he found related to Russian involvement in the 2016 election ”

    Really? Which part of his report covers the Russian involvement with Fusion GPS, Steele, Clinton, and the DNC?

    1. Exactly!! The report was a half-assed effort.

    2. That is the truly salient question for team Mueller.

      They were charged with finding out about “Russian interference with the election”. So why did he only focus on the Trump campaign? Particularly when the only solid proof of working with the Russians is that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Fusion GPS to collect the Russian dirt on Trump and then disseminated that dirt widely and aggressively.

      1. Unfortunately, Mueller was only charged with investigating collusion associated with the Trump campaign. I guess Rosenstein just “mistakenly” forgot to include Hillary’s campaign in the charge.

        1. You should read the guidance Rosenstein gave Mueller. It was not solely around the trump campaign. It was any russian linked issue for the election.

          1. Also, Mueller did not hesitate in following other loose threads that came up, including catching Manafort and Flynn in his net.

          2. Perhaps the investigators Mueller had who contributed to Hillary’s campaign protected her. We already know that Strzok was the one that protected Hillary from an indictment by changing the characterization in Comey’s report from “gross negligence” to “extremely careless”. He tried to deny it by the FBI IG said the change was made on his computer with login creds.

  6. “”He keeps asking them to repeat the questions because he’s having a hard time hearing them!””

    Perhaps not a hearing issue. Making them ask a question again helps run down the clock.

    1. He was definitely very skilled at that. Every tough question came with a “what is the citation for that”, followed by some fumbling about. When you only have 5 minutes and you’ve budgeted 4 of those 5 minutes for grandstanding, 45 seconds of asking for clarification and citations goes a very long way.

      1. Tony will be here any minute to tell you steele is a made up fox news lie.

        1. Oops. Reply fail.

  7. Robert Mueller is apparently the only person in the United States that hasn’t heard about the Fusion/GPS report.

    1. He only knew it by the name his staff used “Nellie Ohr’s people.”

    2. Being quiet, precise, and not remembering anything of importance is a very important skill when talking to people who can take any misstatement that you make and turn it into a decades-long prison sentence.

      If asked to testify before Congress about anything controversial, I would probably adopt a similar outlook. If there’s the slightest doubt, question and equivocate. Far better than speaking incorrectly.

  8. “Struggling” implies that he gives a shit.

  9. Mueller was there so Congresscritters on both sides could use him as a prop for their five minute speeches loosely disguised as questions.

    1. Yep. But at least many of them remembered to thank him for his service.

      I don’t really have an opinion about him but every time he didn’t answer one of their questions I silently cheered.

  10. likely knowing from the very start that the people questioning him were less interested in what he had to say—what he’d in fact already said—than in whether he’d say what they wanted him to say.

    Well, the democrats made it perfectly clear what they wanted him to say and what they wanted us to believe about what he said. They spent the last week telling us all about it on every news show and in every paper. “What Mueller is going to testify about” was everywhere. And the conclusion that this is going to galvanize the nation toward impeachment was touted in op-eds and supposedly straight news pieces, interviews and panel discussions.

    But the republicans didn’t so much have a “we want him to say *this*” as a “we want him to answer these questions”. Questions that are important. Questions that still haven’t been answered. Heck, they largely haven’t been asked.

    1. Questions like: If a meeting with this Russian lawyer is such a damning piece of evidence, why didn’t your team investigate the longstanding relationship between the exact same lawyer and the Clinton campaign and the DNC via Fusion GPS?

      Or, if your charge was to investigate “Russian interference” in the election, why did you feel constrained to only investigate the Trump campaign when there was ample evidence that other campaigns were targeted by the same disinformation campaign, and at least one other campaign actively participated in the Russian disinformation campaign?

      Or, if accepting help from “foreign powers” in the form of dirt on your opponent is a serious crime that merits criminal prosecution, why did you take the one piece of irrefutable proof of collusion, coordination and conspiracy with foreign agents (in the form of the Steele dossier) and use it to target the Trump campaign, rather than the DNC and the Clinton campaign who not only readily accepted it, but actually paid for it in cash and spent further money and time working diligently to disseminate it?

      Or how about: If your charge was investigating Russian interference, why did the vast majority of your work involve threatening US citizens with prosecution for unrelated crimes in an effort to win their “cooperation”?

      Or how about “were you at all concerned about breaking centuries of legal tradition centered on providing the right to a fair trial by attempting to break the attorney client privilege and raiding Trump’s private attorney?”

      Or how about “how did your offices come to the conclusion that it was proper to coordinate with state attorneys general who ran for office on a pledge to use that office to “get Trump and his family and associates”? Doesn’t that completely undermine any sense of justice?

      Or even the simple: “almost all of your potential ‘obstruction of justice’ examples involve the President complaining about the investigation into his campaign working with Russia not wrapping up. Why did you put resources into investigating whether and why the President wanted the investigation to come to a conclusion instead of simply issuing a report? What new facts did you learn in the last 12 months of your investigation that related to the Trump team working with Russia? You already had all of the wiretap information that showed that there was actually no case for the Trump team working with the Russians. So why keep it going and putting most of your effort into trying to document a case against Trump that was not related to working with the Russians?

      1. preach, brother. This shit has reached acid-trip levels of insanity.

    2. If you watched the news the democrats and MSM were both claiming the hearings proved trump committed multiple felonies. The ignorance and cognitive dissonance is stunning.

  11. Trump campaign when there was ample evidence that other campaigns were targeted by the same disinformation campaign, and at least one other campaign actively participated in the Russian disinformation campaign? lakshmi vilas bank balance check mobile no

  12. Mueller won’t answer because he is covering for Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, James Comey Loretta Lynch, and the entire Obama administration FBI and Justice Department. It is why he said charge Trump after out of office when “National Security” can be used to cover up the wrongdoing.

  13. Amazing to see Reason still lionizing a doddering old fool who clearly didn’t have any hands in his own investigation. He wasn’t dumb. He just didn’t know anything! And that is the guy you’re boy Amash backed. How embarrassing.

    1. I’m not seeing the lionizing. But I guess you should know.

  14. Reply fail.

    1. The squirrel caused double reply fail. Need coffee.

  15. Watching the hearings and reading reading the LA Times recaps, I got this take away:

    At the morning Judiciary Committee hearing Rep Ted Kieu (D-CA): “I’d like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the OLC opinion stating you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?”
    Muelle: “That is correct.”

    Apparently anti-Trumpists spun that on lunch break as Mueller believed Trump committed an indictable crime or crimes but only the OLC opinion stopped him from indicting Trump.

    At the afternoon Intelligence Committee hearing
    Mueller issued a correction that he incorrectly told Leiu he did not indict the president because of the Office of Legal Council opinion: “That is not the correct way to say it. We did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

    I get the impression from Mueller’s correction:
    (a) The Investigation did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed an indictable crime.
    (b) If they had reached such a determination, they could not indict him as a sitting president.

    The OLC opinion was A reason, not THE reason.

    1. Lieu (not Kieu not Leiu)
      Mueller (not Muelle)

    2. The way I saw it, Mueller simply confirmed that a president can be indicted when he leaves office; that by itself doesn’t prove that *this* president committed a crime.

      1. He can be indicted in office. What OLC guidance actually says, and what Barr told Mueller, is they can not be prosecuted. The indictment can remain paused until he leaves office.

        But just like with the russians Mueller indicted in absentia, he doesn’t want the indictments actually being challenged in court. He knows he will lose. His report requires great leaps of interpretation to reach anything actually illegal, especially on the obstruction side. His broad reading of obstruction laws would make it illegal to declare ones innocence.

        2 examples. The mcgahn firing charge. If you read the report trump asked Mcgahn to challenge Mueller under conflict of interest charges. Not to end the prosecution, to replace Mueller. There is undeniable conflicts between Mueller and witnesses such as Comey. Challenging conflicts is a standard legal principle used all the time in criminal law. Declaring this obstruction is asinine.

        The second was trump telling mcgahn that he didnt say fire. Trumps testimony I’d that he never used the word fire. Which could be true, and is definitely unforgivable one way or the other. This isnt obstruction but two different memories of a conversation. literally unprovable in court.

        I wont even get into the requirement for corrupt intent and the altering of evidence to impose a narrative, ie removing exculpatory evidence from the report.

        1. US Const., Article I, Section 3:
          The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.

          Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.

          Exactly. There is nothing in the US Constitution that says that a President cannot be indicted. The Founders didnt want a sitting President to have to deal with local prosecutors indicting them and going to trial.

          If a President is impeached, the maximum punishment the Senate can give is removal from office and being barred from working in the federal government again. Then the ex-President can be taken to trial on any indictments.

        2. Ah, I didn’t get that distinction. Thanks for the update.

  16. Gasp! It’s obvious what happened! Don’t you all see?!

    Putin got to Mueller! Mueller is now one of Putin’s puppets just like Trump! Aagh Russiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    1. Brain slugs!

  17. Questions for our resident lawyers:

    1. This “can’t indict a sitting president” thing…it only applies to the president himself, right? Not his family or underlings or business associates?
    If Trump did engage in “collusion” or obstructed justice it seems unlikely that he did it all by himself. Why couldn’t Mueller have indicted any of those people? (As I recall, people like Manafort and Flynn got pounded on unrelated issues.)

    2. If Trump obstructed justice and someone in his circle knew about it and didn’t report it, is that a crime? If so why didn’t Mueller bust them?

    1. Because orange man bad.

    2. “1. This “can’t indict a sitting president” thing…it only applies to the president himself, right? Not his family or underlings or business associates?”

      I’m not aware that has been substantially addressed. DOJ cannot prosecute POTUS because legally speaking DOJ is POTUS. Meaning the only possibilities, under such an event, are that either DOJ is no longer part of the Executive, or the ‘prosecution’ is a sham. Both being Constitutional crises.

      Anyone extremely close to POTUS (e.g. spouse or minor child) would probably fall under the same concerns. Anyone further out (adult child, business associate) would tend to place POTUS in a tough spot – where undue influence could easily be seen as an impeachable offense.

  18. Is there anyone in government or mainstream media pushing back on this “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference bullshit? What a diversion for the low-information types!

    1. People decrying Russian interference this time around are essentially admitting that “business as usual is only bad when our side loses.”

  19. According to the latest from the NYT Mueller didn’t seem to be interested in much of anything, other than punching the clock and being home in time for supper.

    1. From your article,

      “”Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, who said he had watched about 30 minutes of the morning hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. “I hope this isn’t the American people’s last memory of him.”””

      This probably will be people’s last memory of him.

      Mueller goes up against Trump and ends up being remember like this. That’s a win for Trump.

  20. Robert Mueller want trying to make a point, he was uninformed, ill prepared, and borderline senile

  21. […] Shackford at Reason thinks it’s because Mueller wasn’t interested in playing political games – and he may […]

  22. […] Shackford at Purpose thinks it’s as a result of Mueller wasn’t taken with enjoying political video games – […]

  23. […] Shackford at Reason thinks it’s because Mueller wasn’t interested in playing political games – and he may have a good […]

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