For two years, Robert Mueller was the most powerful man in America. Since May 2017, he has ruled the media, the government, and the public discourse. Elusive by design, Mueller, along with his team of partisan prosecutors, operated in a rarified sphere exempt from the normal political constraints of scrutiny and accountability.
Americans repeatedly were assured that Robert Mueller possessed superhuman faculties. His integrity is unimpeachable, his professional track record is flawless—or so we were told. A war hero and former FBI Director, appointed by Republicans doncha know, Robert Mueller was the man, the patriot, who would get to the bottom of how Donald Trump and his corrupt campaign associates colluded with the Russians to throw the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
Leaders on both sides of the aisle assured us that Mueller would act in a fair manner, that he would oversee every detail, and that any case against the president would be rock solid. Any tepid criticism of the special counsel was the equivalence of treachery, an attempt to subvert the rule of law; any Trump tweet aimed at the man in charge of a politically-motivated investigation intended to take down his presidency was proof of his criminality.
For two years, Congress, mostly led by Republicans during that time, cowered in the powerful shadow of Robert Mueller. Governance ground to a halt as our country’s legitimate challenges, including a porous southern border, were ignored. Conservative commentators piled on, working with the Left to attack anyone who dared to challenge Mueller’s power. Americans repeatedly were warned that “the end is near,” “the walls are closing in,” “Trump’s days are numbered,” as Mueller’s team notched one indictment after another, although none was related to election collusion. Americans braced for the worst, or the best depending on one’s political affiliation, as we became convinced Donald Trump would be hauled out of the Oval Office by the Messianic Mueller.
But the man who appeared before Congress today lived up to none of the hype. Far from the media portrayal of a meticulous man in charge, Mueller was unfamiliar with his own report. He seemed confused by his own material, straining to understand inquiries about information contained in the lengthy document that bears his name. “If it’s in the report” was his frequent reply when challenged about certain passages. He was frail, shaky, and distracted. He had to correct one crucial part of his testimony.
Unlike the promised profile of a forthright adjudicator whose only fidelity was to the facts, Mueller refused to answer numerous questions about his team’s work. He often insisted that easy questions were unanswerable or “outside his purview.” He feigned ignorance about key players in the collusion hoax, such as Fusion GPS. He admitted his investigation into election collusion only cut one way: against Donald Trump.
Americans first were sold a lie about Russian election collusion, then about Mueller. Democrats are unlikely to end this charade and the media will keep playing along with the farce it helped create.
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Photo credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call