Home Politics Mueller’s Testimony Poses Risk for Trump, But Also Democrats

Mueller’s Testimony Poses Risk for Trump, But Also Democrats

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Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress will depend not so much on what he says, but that he’s even saying it at all.

For Democrats, the special counsel’s appearance Wednesday creates a moment many have been waiting for: Mueller finally speaking out, piercing the public consciousness about President Donald Trump’s response to the Russia investigation and whether anything should be done about it.

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The political stakes are high for Trump, but also for Democrats, who have spent the past two years pushing toward this day. As public attention has drifted and views have hardened, Democrats are counting on Americans hearing what most have not likely read — the stunning findings of Mueller’s 448-page report .

“Let us listen, let us see where the facts will take us,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “And then, we’ll see what happens after that.”

Yet there’s a real possibility that Mueller may not bring clarity.

It took months to negotiate his appearance before Congress and he has been reluctant to speak beyond what he and his team wrote. Few bombshells are expected. As the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee gavel in, the buttoned-down prosecutor, once envisioned as a trusted last word, may deliver just-the-facts responses that leave more questions than answers.

Rather than galvanizing public opinion and the questions of impeachment, Mueller’s reluctant appearance may become just another chapter in the Trump era that won’t be closed until the 2020 election.

Trump tried to project a lack of interest, claiming he will not tune in to Wednesday’s hourslong hearings and saying Democrats are “just playing games.”

“I won’t be watching Mueller,” he told reporters.

The nation, though, will likely pay attention.

Mueller’s appearance comes more than two years since the start of the Russia investigation, an extraordinary moment in Trump’s presidency when, after Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, his Justice Department appointed Mueller to take over the inquiry into election interference and the potential role that Trump and his winning 2016 campaign may have played.

Mueller spoke publicly only once, saying his team’s report, released in April, should speak for itself.

The report found that while there was no evidence the campaign colluded with Russia to swing the election, Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation . But Mueller believed he couldn’t be indicted in part because of a Justice Department opinion against prosecuting a sitting president.

The special counsel’s team appeared to punt the question to Congress to decide next steps. More than 80 House Democrats now say there should be impeachment proceedings, and it’s likely that Mueller’s testimony increases that number.

But time has a way of changing the political dynamic.

While Mueller’s testimony was once envisioned as a crystalizing event, a Watergate-style moment to uncover truths, public attention has drifted in the months since the report was released.

Trump, a master at changing the subject, has easily shifted the public’s attention to his racist attacks on four women of color in Congress.

“Timing matters,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He and others who favor opening impeachment proceedings say Mueller should have testified months ago.

A June poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 31% of Americans said they didn’t know enough to say whether Mueller’s report had completely cleared Trump of coordination with Russia and 30% didn’t know whether it had not completely cleared Trump of obstruction. A CNN poll found that just 3% said they had read the whole report.

Democrats are counting on Mueller’s presence to capture public attention in ways the report alone has been unable to do, with some comparing it to the movie version of the book.

“I do think that the contents of the report are so significant, and so damning, that when Mr. Mueller brings them to life, and actually tells the American people … it will have an impact,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“This will be really the first opportunity for the American people to hear directly from Mr. Mueller about what he found about Russian interference in the American presidential election and efforts by the president to impede, undermine or stop the investigation,” he said.

It’s not lost on Democrats that they are brushing up against a narrative already set, by Trump’s claims of no collusion or obstruction, and Attorney General William Barr’s own framing of the report before its public release with his stamp of no wrongdoing.

“There are still millions of people who think, absurdly, that there is no evidence of presidential obstruction or collusion in the report,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and also a professor of constitutional law. He said Trump and Barr have left a “fog of propaganda” hanging over the country. “We just want to clear the fog,” he said.

Congress has oversight of the executive branch, and lawmakers on the committees plan to delve into key areas of the report where Trump interfered with the investigation. Democrats often note that obstruction was included in the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.

One focus will be on the conversations Trump had with the former White House counsel, Don McGahn, first as the president tried to fire Mueller over the Russia probe, and later to direct the lawyer to deny that he had ordered for Mueller be dismissed.

There will be questions about potential witness tampering, and the suggestions of a presidential pardon for Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and conversations with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Both men are now in custody, serving sentences on other charges.

At the same time, Republicans will likely try to turn the tables, casting doubt on the Russia investigation and its origins during the Obama administration.

But Mueller, 74, who hews to standards of an earlier era, is not expected to stray beyond the document his team produced. Aides to lawmakers say they have been reviewing his past congressional appearances and are expecting one-word answers and few surprises.

That could lead to an unfulfilling conclusion for Democrats, and others, who are hoping Mueller’s testimony will bring some resolution.

The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said the hearing will be “like an old TV show that you watched years ago. … After a few minutes you could quote what the characters could say, and nothing is new anymore.”

“Frankly, the American people have moved on,” Collins said.

via newsmax

20 COMMENTS

  1. Mueller already ‘strayed’ away from “standards” when he allowed Weisman to ‘proclaim’ Trump could “not be exonerated” in his 448-page high-school thesis.
    Mueller witnessed aspects of the probe before it started.
    He was bitter when Trump declined hiring him.
    He should have never been appointed.
    It was not his job to convict Trump, but he tried anyway.
    If he were as “Honorable” as the demonrats claim, he would have recused himself.
    I think the demonrats will have a huge chunk of ass removed when he testifies. They will not ask questions he hasn’t already written about, because they don’t want to know the truth. The Republicans will ask only what was NOT in the report, and it will show the whole damn thing was a FARCE, and a very expensive waste of time.
    2020 LANDSLIDE . . .

  2. Trump, a master at changing the subject, has easily shifted the public’s attention to his racist attacks on four women of color in Congress.
    This is a LIE. Nowhere in his comments did he mention race. This is the talking point of the liberal media and the demonrats. I challenge anyone to show me anything in his tweet that was racist.

  3. The democrats/ marxists are nothing more than a bunch of America haters, corrupt, power hungry low lives who are desperately trying to reverse the result of the 2016 election because we the people, elected Trump instead of their wonderful candidate, Clinton, the Socialist/ globalist !!!
    It looks like the American people have learned our lesson after electing Hussein Obama, the Marxist, which was nothing more than the Trojan horse infiltrated into the WH by the globalists in order to start the “ fundamentally transforming of America”
    Praying to God that these communists/ marxists calling themselves progressives will not succeed in destroying our country !!!
    God Bless America and Trump !!!!!

  4. I think the Dems postponed this so they could change their stately and come up wth their new questions and may have even spoken with Mueller co-ordinating his testimony. I do not trust him and he is not very well respected. He left out so much he should have investigated such as the dossier and what led to this crap against Trump. He is a democrat in Hillary’s pocket and I do not trust him

  5. Mueller better stick to his story or he’s going down hard. The Democrats eat shit. These sorry ass motherfuckers will die knowing Trump was elected twice and served eight years as president. Ha, ha, cocksuckers!

  6. Congress does not have oversight of the executive branch. There are 3 branches of government: Legislative, Judicial and Executive. They are each supposed to apply checks and balances on each other – which is not to say “oversight”. The latter implies that the executive branch is under the legislative, which is not the case.

    • Congress has oversight to the extent that new laws can be passed, and money to fund various operations of the Executive Branch must be appropriated by Congress.
      That said, there should be some sort of penalty against “lawmakers” who fail/refuse to appropriate sufficient funds for the Executive Branch to implement the laws which have been passed by the Legislative Branch.

  7. “his Justice Department appointed Mueller to take over the inquiry into election interference and the potential role that Trump and his winning 2016 campaign may have played.”

    Wait, Trump was not president during the 2016 campaign. Why did not the then-president do something about alleged Russian “interference” in the election?

  8. “while there was no evidence the campaign colluded with Russia to swing the election, Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation .”

    Since there was no collusion, what was there to obstruct?

  9. “Trump, a master at changing the subject, has easily shifted the public’s attention to his racist attacks on four women of color in Congress.”

    There were no “racist” attacks. On anyone. At least not by Trump.

  10. “lawmakers on the committees plan to delve into key areas of the report where Trump interfered with the investigation. ”

    Except that Trump did not interfere. Complaining about an illegal and empty “investigation” does not equal interfering.

  11. Trump’s racist remarks about the 4 worthless idiots. Not 1 word of color, religion. The writer of this article needs stop being an idiot. Semi informative, but with a left slant.

  12. This guy is another FLUNKY hired by the dems to support their Overthrow….
    This guy needs to be ENLIGHTENED…..

    Mueller is being coached as WHAT TO SAY……

    Hmmmm – How come I share the same feelings as a lot of those people at the rally……

    Could it be that the dems have VIOLATED their oath of office….

    FAILED to represent the people of their districts…..

    CRY – racism at every turn….

    VIOLATE every law on the books….

    PLANNED and Implemented a COUP against a duly elected president…..

    SUPPORT attacks on LEO’s – CBP and BP officers at every turn in favor of criminals…

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