Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called Robert Mueller’s hearing Wednesday “a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.”
Former special counsel Mueller appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee on July 24 to testify on his finalized report and the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia. Throughout his testimony, many pundits pointed to the 74-year-old’s lack of ability to answer questions concisely or even accurately.
Fox News' Chris Wallace on Democrats' Robert Mueller hearing: “This has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.” pic.twitter.com/wPhTDzH0HT
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 24, 2019
During Mueller’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, he constantly asked for questions to be repeated, seemed unsure of his answers, and forgot to speak into the microphone. Mueller seemed to be forgetting his own work and at one point contradicted his own report, only to agree with it minutes later.
Even Noah Weiland at The New York Times noted that Mueller’s performance was lacking.
I haven’t seen a performance quite like this from Mueller. In 12 years as F.B.I. director, he gave plenty of clipped responses. But more often than not he was more rhetorically agile than anyone on the committees that were questioning him and there was rarely a time when he even paused for a second after a question was asked. There was little searching in his eyes for answers. He rarely looked at notes.
.@noahweiland of NYT: "I haven’t seen a performance quite like this from Mueller. In 12 years as F.B.I. director, he gave plenty of clipped responses. But more often than not he was more rhetorically agile than anyone on the committees that were questioning him….
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) July 24, 2019
One moment that stood out in the hours of hearing footage was when Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asked Mueller whether “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms. Collins read Mueller’s report, which said that to the public, “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms, even though “collusion” is not a finite legal term. He asked Mueller if that was correct.
“No,” Mueller responded.
Collins proceeded to refer Mueller to his own report, in which he did state that “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms.
Mueller decided to change his answer after reading his own report. An entire two minutes of the hearing were dedicated to Mueller re-learning his own work.
This exchange between @RepDougCollins and Mueller is something else. The ranking member asks Mueller about whether collusion and conspiracy are synonymous terms.
Mueller initially contradicts his own report before eventually siding with it.
Video: CSPAN pic.twitter.com/O1hf5gaHjv
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) July 24, 2019
Fox News was not the only media platform to cover Mueller’s less-than-adequate performance. CNN’s David Axelrod tweeted that the testimony was very, very painful.
This is very, very painful.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 24, 2019
Even MSNBC’s Claire McCaskill said, “He frankly wasn’t a good witness.”
>@clairecmc on MSNBC on Mueller: “He frankly wasn’t a really good witness”
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 24, 2019
After today’s performance, pundits are asking whether this testimony actually proved that Mueller was not as involved in his own team’s investigative process as we have been led to believe.
He seemed to lack adequate knowledge on the information inside his own report, and although it is a large report, it does raise questions about how involved Mueller actually was in the investigation. And if he wasn’t in charge of his own staff, who was?