Mueller’s much-anticipated testimony took place yesterday. Mueller said many devastating things about Trump and Trump’s corrupt circle, but few of the things he said were new, mostly remaining within the bounds of his report. Democrats did a decent job of trying to tell a story of corruption and getting Mueller to agree with it, Rep Adam Schiff in particular, but it wasn’t anything dramatic or earth-shattering. Sometimes, the facts can be devastating and appalling while also being technical and dull, and this was the overarching theme of the hearing.
The most devastating exchanges occurred between Mueller and Adam Schiff.
- SCHIFF: Well your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?
- MUELLER: It is not a witch hunt.
- SCHIFF: When the president said the Russian interference was a hoax, that was false, wasn’t it?
- MUELLER: True.
They had this exchange later.
- SCHIFF: From your testimony today, I gather that you believe that knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.
- MUELLER: And a crime.
- SCHIFF: And a crime.
- MUELLER: And a crime in given circumstances.
- SCHIFF: And to the degree that it undermines our democracy and institutions we can agree that it’s also unpatriotic.
- MUELLER: True.
- SCHIFF: And wrong.
- MUELLER: True.
Mueller later spoke about Russian interference in our elections:
- MUELLER: It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign.
Mueller also strongly affirmed his belief that Wikileaks was working for a hostile foreign power, underscoring the betrayal of America by Trump’s embrace of Wikileaks.
Mueller also, without drawing conclusions, affirmed that Trump on multiple occasions met the three necessary criteria for criminal obstruction of justice:
- An obstructive Act…
- …in connection with an official proceeding…
- …made with corrupt intent.
This was as close as Mueller was ever going to get in a public forum to throwing shade on Donald Trump. In his modest and non-specific way, he was calling Trump and his team unethical, unpatriotic criminals.
Will this be enough to galvanize a groundswell of new support for impeachment? Probably not. But it will increase the volume and raise the stakes yet again. As Rep Ted Lieu so clearly and plainly stated on Twitter last night:
Where this story goes next is anybody’s guess. Trump is already screaming that the Mueller testimony was a great victory, but he would be screaming the same thing on the Titanic right after it hit the iceberg. Everything for Trump is a huge victory, best maybe ever, nobody’s ever seen anything like it! That’s the way profoundly insecure people roll, and with Trump it’s gone way beyond predictable and impotent.
It’s also important to note that the House passed a bill authorizing more money to fund protections from Russian election interference, but Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring the bill up for a vote. His refusal is a profoundly unAmerican betrayal of his office and must be condemned and resisted in the most strenuous way. There is simply no excuse for failing recognize and act on the ongoing attacks, yet McConnell just sits there doing nothing. Shameful.
If you feel strongly about impeachment, please call Rep Delgado and let him know. A phone call is one of the most effective things a constituent can do short of voting.
Meanwhile, keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”