Out of all the exchanges that come out of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s appearances before Congress, this is going to be one of the most astounding.
A man who spent almost two years investigating an allegation of “collusion” between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia appeared on Wednesday to be unfamiliar with one of the biggest names in the origins of that investigation: Fusion GPS.
It’s so astounding, it’s literally unbelievable.
The moment came when House Judiciary Committee Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio asked a basic factual question regarding the special counsel investigation’s report.
“On page 103 of volume 2 of your report, when discussing the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, you reference ‘the firm that produced the Steele reporting,'” Chabot said.
“The name of that firm was Fusion GPS, is that correct?” he said.
Mueller appeared to stall while looking at his own copy of the report, then asked for the page number again.
“When you talk about the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was Fusion GPS, is that correct?” Chabot asked.
“I’m not familiar with that,” Mueller said.
“Let me just help you. It was — it’s not a trick question or anything. It was Fusion GPS,” Chabot said.
“That’s outside my purview,” Mueller responded.
It would be surprising for anyone with even a passing, cursory knowledge of the complicated story surrounding Mueller’s investigation to be “not familiar” with the name Fusion GPS.
For the man who ran that investigation not to have recognized the name instantly beggared belief. And Twitter comments showed it immediately.
Conservative commentator and author Mollie Hemingway put it well.
Robert Mueller literally just said he wasn’t familiar with Fusion GPS. My Lord. My Lord.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) July 24, 2019
And she had plenty of company.
This is unbelievable. Half the country knows who Fusion GPS is by now.
— Kathy G. (@Mondaykgnj) July 24, 2019
I’m coming to the conclusion that the one person who knows the least about what’s in the Mueller Report is Robert Mueller.
— James Quirk (@Quirk22) July 24, 2019
Philip Klein, executive editor of the Washington Examiner, put the issue precisely in an opinion post titled “Robert Mueller said he was ‘not familiar’ with Fusion GPS. How is that possible?”
It’s a good question. It doesn’t seem possible at all.
But regardless of how it’s possible — or if it’s possible — one thing was clear from Mueller’s appearance before Congress on Wednesday:
The man in charge of the Russia investigation had very little interest in talking about it.
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