The train wreck that played out at the hearing with Robert Mueller today was…saddening. This man with a long history in the Justice Department and the FBI has clearly lost his edge. The Democrats tried to get the former special counsel to call the president a criminal; they were left wanting. Robert Mueller seemed lost in his answers. He constantly referred to the report as he was unable to answer simple straightforward questions.
As the questioning went on from both sides of the aisle, Robert Mueller studdered, paused, and hesitated repeatedly. Mueller was unable to explain why he appeared to go outside of his mandate in the investigation. When asked why he did not charge central people that reportedly lied to him and the FBI, and why he did charge only people connected to the president, Mueller’s answers in that matter were confused and unhelpful for either side.
Robert Mueller presented as a witness that could not follow questions posed to him without asking again and again for the questions to be repeated. When pressed, he tried to find where he had made a statement in the report he is credited with writing. Mueller appeared to be unfamiliar with much of his report. This is not to say he did not write it, but Robert Mueller was at an obvious loss to answer much of what was posed to him without someone pointing out where, in his report, he had made the statements.
What became clear is Robert Mueller’s time has passed. He did not help himself at all in this hearing. Robert Mueller, who had always been a straight shooter when it came to the law, apparently lost his way in this process. He also showed himself as a man that is tired, confused, and subject to political pressure. He acknowledged that he knew nothing about the backgrounds or the bias of those he hired. Why? Why did he not vet his help? How could a professional at this level and one under such a magnifying glass not look closely at who he depended on? There are only two answers: either Robert Mueller was incompetent in this area, or he was politically motivated to stack his team to get a specific outcome. He was to only provide the U.S. attorney general with a confidential report of his charges or declarations. He failed to do this.
When reading the specific statute that was his authorization to conduct his investigation and his duty to report his findings to the attorney general, the part where the law says the special counsel “Shall” make the report, Robert Mueller could not explain why he did not do so. He couldn’t decide or didn’t know what the word “Shall” meant. As a law student, this is unbelievable to me. The fundamental rule of all legal readings and opinions is the word “Shall” means there is no choice. Shall means must. How this learned long-time attorney and legal official of the highest levels, the person put in charge of investigating the president of the United States can not or does not know what the law says is astonishing.
Robert Mueller presented as someone whose memory is poor or deteriorating, someone who could not follow the train of thought in questioning, someone who seemed lost. I felt sorry watching the hearing seeing this once great man show that he was a hollow shell of his former self. It was sad, and the American people who viewed the hearing will come to no other conclusion other than this was the wrong guy at the wrong time for the wrong reason to be placed in the position to determine the direction of the country through his investigation.
No one can get out unscathed from this hearing: Not the Democrats, not the Republicans, not Robert Mueller and certainly not the country.