Democrats hoped that dragging in former special counsel Bob Mueller for hearings would jump-start their drive to get going on impeachment. Oops: It turned out to be a total waste of time.
Mueller made it clear long in advance that he didn’t want to testify, and wouldn’t talk about anything except what was in his report. He even got the Justice Department to issue a guidance instructing him to keep to his preferred limits.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler makes opening remarks at Mueller hearing, vows ‘integrity’
That left Democrats using their time to read bits of the report, then ask the witness, That’s in the report, right?
Mueller would then say Yes or Let me check or Can you repeat the question?
Though he’s is a hugely accomplished public servant, Mueller was a spectacularly unimpressive witness, often coming off as unfamiliar with his own report or otherwise confused.
And because Mueller found no collusion, Dems on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees couldn’t even come close to making a case for impeachment.
Republicans in turn launched various attacks on the investigation, which Mueller dodged as “not my purview.” How this whole Russia investigation started isn’t the business of the Russia investigator? That’s hard to believe.
So: What did we learn from the hearings? Nothing. What’s the impact? Nothing.
Indeed, Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) even shattered Dems’ bid to milk Mueller’s claim that he couldn’t “exonerate” President Trump of obstruction: Turner pointed out that prosecutors aren’t empowered to exonerate anyone.
Dems’ bid to energize voters on impeachment fizzled, and we’re no closer to knowing how much this long investigation relied on opposition research by Hillary Clinton and dirty tricks by intelligence operatives appalled by Donald Trump.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into some of that. Cross your fingers that we’ll get some real news when he files his report.