Commentary

Watch: NBC's Chuck Todd Says Mueller 'Was a Disaster'

Liberals may have pinned their anti-Trump hopes on Robert Mueller, but the special counsel just dashed them against the rocks of reality.

Mueller’s testimony before the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was hotly anticipated by the left, which saw the event as a way to hammer home their allegations of misconduct by the president.

Instead, the former director of the FBI delivered a cringe-worthy performance, sometimes appearing completely clueless about his own report.

The televised testimony was so bad that even left-leaning members of the media called it a “disaster,” among other unflattering terms.

Some talking heads tried to spin the testimony as a win for Democrats, but couldn’t even do that without acknowledging the problems with Mueller’s performance. One of them was Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

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“On substance, the Democrats got what they wanted,” Todd claimed during a panel discussion on NBC, as Mediaite noted. “They got him to confirm that he didn’t make a charge because of the Justice Department memo. He confirmed that you can still indict him on these charges after he leaves office.”

He was referring to an exchange with Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, during which Mueller seemed to imply that the main reason the special counsel didn’t indict the president was because a DOJ Office of Legal Counsel opinion stated that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

But Mueller later went out of his way to correct that remark.

“That’s not the correct way to say it,” Mueller said in follow-up comments on Wednesday, NBC News reported. “We did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

Do you think Mueller's testimony was a disaster for Democrats?

In other words, that “gotcha” moment for liberals was a dead-end. But even setting that aside, NBC’s Todd admitted the overall image portrayed by the tired-looking Mueller didn’t bode well for Democrats.

“He provided such, what do you call it, uncomfortable clarity? As they were using him for clarity, he’d somehow fog it up in how he would do certain things. So look, on optics, this was a disaster,” Todd said.

CNN’s Jake Tapper echoed that sentiment, and pointed out that Mueller seemed baffled by his own report, making the entire thing look like a farce.

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“We can’t avoid the fact that there were times in the hearing that he was not [sharp],” Tapper said on CNN. “There were times in the hearing, when he didn’t seem … either he couldn’t hear what the questioner was asking.”

“There were also times when it seemed like he was unfamiliar with parts of the investigation. Like he didn’t seem familiar with the name, [Fusion] GPS. When the name Lewandowski was mentioned, he didn’t seem familiar with that.”

Those last two points are the most puzzling about this whole thing.

Tapper is right: When members of Congress brought up Fusion GPS, the political research firm widely reported as responsible for the infamous “Russian dossier” at the center of the collusion questions, Mueller said he didn’t know about it.

It was the same story with Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who has been in the news since 2016.

How Mueller could have investigated this issue for two years and not know anything about Fusion GPS is jaw-dropping.

“Now, I don’t know if he couldn’t hear, or if actually he is not as well-versed with this report as many of the people on this panel are right now,” Tapper added.

Think about that for a moment. If Mueller is indeed that clueless about his own report, it may be time to ask some hard questions about his competence — or whether other figures wrote the report instead.

The bottom line is that this was not a good day for Democrats. Mueller came across as unprepared, confused and bumbling — and like it or not, those impressions will now be indelibly tied to the report which bears his name.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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