Robert Mueller is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, answering questions about obstruction of justice and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Of course, the president is watching and would like you to know he’s VERY INNOCENT and NOT MAD.
So Trump’s acting irrationally—no surprise. But surely everyone else is handling this reasonably, not treating this like some sort of bizarre sporting event…
This group of Hill interns slept in the hallway last night to be first in line for the Mueller hearing. pic.twitter.com/kxSbJh3T88
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 24, 2019
Dammit. Who among us isn’t a nerdy intern today, though? We’re all glued to this for better or worse. That said, what do we really think is gonna happen here today? Is Mueller gonna rip off his suit to reveal a spandex superhero suit and declare Donald Trump guilty? Will he plead the 5th to every query like Tron Carter? We’re here to chronicle the little things, the petty stuff other outlets won’t focus on.
8:33 We’re underway, and Rep. Jerry Nadler is introducing Mueller and slurping his integrity. Mueller looks a lot less like Robert De Niro than I remember. Are they using that new FaceApp filter on him?
8:38 And now Rep. Doug Collins is up with the minority introduction discussing foreign election interference as a priority over any sort of obstruction or Russian collusion. Mueller already looks thoroughly bored and annoyed to be here.
an exhausted professor mueller discovers nobody did the assigned reading pic.twitter.com/8t7J9rcaNR
— David Mack (@davidmackau) July 24, 2019
8:42 Mueller is sworn in. The room did NOT explode due to a truth bomb. Mueller then delivers a “brief” statement detailing the parameters of his report and its release. He notes that collusion isn’t a legal term, which feels like a not-so-subtle dig at Trump and the media in general.
8:48 Mueller notes the abnormality of a prosecutor testifying before Congress. You’re tellin’ me, bud! He’s saying his testimony will be “limited.” In other words, he’s here to disappoint us—or at least the dolts who think he’s some sort of bizarre legal messiah.
8:52 Nadler begins questioning, and starts with how the report doesn’t exonerate Trump. Mueller weirdly sounds hesitant, settling in as Nadler peppers him with questions about Trump’s obstruction. This seems important.
Here's the moment that will get played over and over:
Nadler: "Did you actually totally exonerate the president?"
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/3zG8a6S2Z0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 24, 2019
8:57 Collins is back, hitting Mueller with gotcha questions about the Mueller Report. He’s confused Mueller a couple times with the speed of his questions
9:05 Mueller accidentally mispronounced Trump as “Trimp.” No chance this will be on a t-shirt in a few hours.
Democratic presidential candidates should promise that nobody will live tweet congressional hearings like they're the Fiesta Bowl if they win
— Aaron (@BobbyBigWheel) July 24, 2019
"Trimp." — Robert Mueller
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 24, 2019
9:10 Rep. John Ratcliffe is doubling down on the Collins method—he’s basically saying the report wasn’t legal, using up his entire time with a written statement. It’s obvious the Republicans members of the Committee will be competing over who can most soil themselves whinging about Trump’s innocence and Mueller’s illegality, maybe in the hopes for better jobs.
Well, that explains things. https://t.co/adcLn0nKWs
— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) July 24, 2019
Aside from being completely full of shit, Ratcliffe proves the five-minute questioning format is inane and uninformative.
9:16 Mueller is essentially being made to read his report. Good thing all the members (and all of us watching) read it before we tuned in!
9:20 Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has the lowest possible energy. Even his gotcha quips are coming off half speed. At least someone’s treating this like a normal Wednesday morning.
9:24 Rep. Steve Cohen said “effed” instead of “fucked” when reading the infamous Trump quote about Mueller being named special counsel, which isn’t significant but highlights how boring this goddamn hearing is. The American people deserve good TV as much as we deserve justice.
9:33 I haven’t listened to a thing Rep. Steve Chabot said because I can’t stop looking at his fucked up haircut. Just be bald, bro. Your Flock of Seagulls dream has passed you by.
9:39 Robert Muller dances around saying he’s friends with James Comey. Scandalous!
In all seriousness, Rep. Louie Gohmert and other Republicans are using their time to peddle conspiracy theories, connecting Mueller with other conservative boogeymen (Comey, Peter Strzok, Fusion GPS) without giving him time to fully respond. Gohmert cut off Mueller’s response and complained about him not answering the question.
9:52 We’re almost an hour in and still NO BOMBSHELL MOMENTS. We want fireworks! We want someone the bang a gavel and yell something like “guilty!” or “YOU, sir, are the criminal!” Even if it’s boring as hell, the playbook is clear, so we can just sit and wait for any good stuff while Mueller refuses to say anything not in the report.
This format is awful, but Democrats are directly laying out the details of Mueller's findings on obstruction, while the Republicans are waaaaay off in the weeds asking about a flurry of peripheral matters.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 24, 2019
11:33 Shortly after my last post, my toilet started flooding, drenching my entire apartment and interrupting this live blog. But after a quick Twitter catch-up sesh, here’s what it seemed I missed:
-Mueller still isn’t really answering questions outside of the report.
-Trump still isn’t exonerated, and can be charged with obstruction once he’s out of office.
-Mueller “confirmed that President Trump asked staff to falsify records relevant to the investigation.” Which is to say he committed obstruction of justice.
-Jim Jordan is a deep state champion.
-Debbie Lesko gets cable for $50???
That’s all for now, at least before the break between sessions. My toilet is fine now, so there’s that.