Most political junkies – if you were fortunate enough in having a day off or perhaps decided to play hooky – were glued to there TV screens Wednesday.
It was a dramatic showdown between leftist loons hungry for impeachment and critical thinking common sense folks, who had already concluded based on Robert Mueller’s written 450-page report that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction.”
However, what we got early Wednesday morning was even more of a surprise and perhaps the reason why Mueller was a reluctant witness from the outset, in what turned out to be a painful experience watching a 74-year old individual stumbling over his own words, unable to speak cohesively regarding his own report.
Time and again Mueller asked both Democrats and Republicans to repeat the question, when they did Mueller seemed to lose his train-of-thought, asking them again to repeat the question, seemingly confused and unable to clearly state his actual mandate under the special counsel rule.
In one encounter with Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu of California, the former special counsel erroneously answered a question posed to him
“The reason that you did not indict the President is because of the OLC opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked, referring to the Office of Legal Counsel’s long-held position against charging a president while they are in office.
Mueller replied, “Correct.”
The answer implied that if it were not for the OLC opinion, Mueller would have been able to indict the President.
His answer caused confusion, speculation, and bewilderment among the assembled lawmakers, until the afternoon session when a contrite Mueller issued a clarification regarding his decision-making skills when it came to the question of whether the President committed obstruction of justice.
“I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning,” Mueller said.
“I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.”
Mueller, for the most part, stayed within the parameters of the report, constantly attempting to decipher what was actually in the report, as if reading it for the first time. Lawmakers questioned him on a particular passage within the report, giving to speculation that perhaps Mueller delegated someone else on his team to actually author the report, and he simply attached his name to it.
His halting and at times labored response seemed to frustrate both Democrats looking to tie the President to obstruction, and Republicans attempting to get answers regarding the Steele dossier and why Mueller did not investigate the source of the Russian collusion hoax, at which point Mueller would state time and again it was not within his “purview.”
Those watching the proceedings regardless if they were Trump supporters or progressives demanding impeachment it was clear by Mueller’s dismal morning performance that Democrats seriously miscalculated, how Mueller would perform.
Even anti-Trump Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, begrudgingly admitted that the House Judiciary Committee hearing was a “disaster” that set back impeachment efforts.
Adding, “Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster,” Tribe tweeted. “Far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired Robert Mueller sucked the life out of it. The effort to save democracy and the rule of law from this lawless President has been set back, not advanced.”
Echoing Tribe’s assessment concerning Mueller’s bleak performance ABC News senior correspondent Terry Moran speculated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not move forward with impeachment.
Adding, “Impeachment’s over. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for her members bringing forth something that is going to obviously lose in the Senate, lose with the American public.”
Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr even weighted in on Mueller’s performance criticizing the former FBI Director for not insuring the steps needed for a fair and balanced staff, concerning Mueller hiring picks of partisan Clinton attorneys.
“I love Bob Mueller as a human being, as a patriot – but I think he’s done a grave disservice to our country in the way he conducted this investigation,” said Starr.