HEARING THREAD: Special Counsel Robert Mueller

[Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before two different House committees today. This post is dedicated to these hearings. Please take any other topics to the open thread.

Hearing schedule:

8:30 a.m. ET – House Judiciary Committee (HJC) Hearing

Link to C-SPAN streaming

12:00 p.m. ET – House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Hearing

Link to C-SPAN streaming

Who to follow:

https://twitter.com/emptywheel (of course)

https://twitter.com/bmaz (naturally)

https://twitter.com/BarbMcQuade – will be on MSNBC to cover at least one of these hearings

https://twitter.com/ZoeTillman – BuzzFeedNews

https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand – Politico

https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS – CourthouseNews

https://twitter.com/jentaub – (late adder – she’s live tweeting a numbered thread)

Apart from our team, here’s a list containing these and other folks who cover Trump-Russia at https://twitter.com/raynetoday/lists/trump-russia.

According to late Tuesday evening reports, Aaron Zebley, former deputy to Mueller, will be sworn in and appear alongside Mueller during at least one of the House committee hearings. (I see differing reports that Zebley will appear before the Judiciary, Intelligence, or both committees.)

The right-wing/Trump supporters are completely freaking out about Zebley’s appearance, blabbering he “was an attorney for Justin Cooper, the IT staffer who set up #HillaryClinton’s private email server & the aide who destroyed Clinton’s old Blackberry phones with a hammer.” (source on Twitter)

The likely loudest GOP voices on the House Judiciary Committee: Doug Collins (ranking minority member, GA-9); Louis Gohmert (TX-1); Jim Jordan (OH-4); Matt Gaetz (FL-1). If past HJC hearings are predictive, expect lots of hot-headed pontificating and few rational questions. Hard to say who will be the worst of the lot but Gaetz has the foolhardiness of youth and past approval from Trump to goad him on. Jordan will focus on “insufficient evidence” to sow fear,  uncertainty and doubt about the Special Counsel’s report and the investigation.

As for the HPSCI, the GOP’s most problematic participant will be Devin Nunes (CA-22) who is the ranking minority member. He’s been meeting with Trump this week about a replacement for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (who Trump wants to jettison for being too determined to protect the country). At least the explanation offered is Coats’ replacement; it’s possible that Nunes has been meeting with Trump about Mueller’s appearance before the HPSCI.

Content here may be subject to updates.

Again, this post is dedicated to these hearings. Please take any other topics to the open thread.

282 replies
    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, harpie.

      Apologies for omitting an image for this post on the front page. It’s always something when I publish after my usual bedtime.

    • Rayne says:

      That one I’m going to want to hear when I get to a point in time and place where I can listen/watch. I want to know if the question was parsed and the reply was parsed.

    • Vicks says:

      “Curtailed stopped or hindered” answer “no”
      Every question got longer and faster until collins was vomiting huge word salads and jumping on Mueller for not agreeing or disagreeing
      Collins used the word “involved” regarding the Trump crew and conspiracy and got Mueller to say “ no”
      Fom what I understand there is evidence that there was “involvement” just not at a level to indict?

    • bmaz says:

      Also what Rosenstein, BDTS and Barr have all stated as well. He did not parse, he just said no.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Vicks. I wasn’t certain whether all the major networks would carry this or not. Glad they are and hope they don’t have too many commercial interruptions on the broadcast networks.

  1. RWood says:

    The words “shall provide” apply to Mueller, but evidently not to the IRS and Trumps taxes???

  2. klynn says:

    Bmaz, IANAL – your comment on “bunk” for Radcliffe performance, could you help clarify the bunk?

  3. Tom says:

    Mueller seems nervous. I wish he would take a deep breath, relax, and explain himself more fully when the Repubs are trying to put words in his mouth.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So far, I’d give the Dems a C- for their questions and manner of delivery. Thankfully, the Goopers are no better.

    The Dems should STFU and stop wasting time telling us about how grateful they are for Mueller’s stellar service. They should stop the campaign statements. Ask Mueller to confirm facts.

  5. Geoff says:

    So far, I’m going to give this a grade of “counterproductive.” It’s painful to watch. I’ve learned nothing, and I’m thinking people that haven’t read the report aren’t particularly impressed. The back and forth by opposing sides kills any momentum, and IMO Mueller isn’t close to being on his game. I suspect this whole process has aged him 10x the actual time. This is so frustrating.

    • Americana says:

      Gohmert is a bastard. He’s tried to misrepresent the solid grounds for establishing the Special Counsel. He’s tried to misrepresent the “animus” of Peter Strzok by failing to appreciate the grounds for Strzok’s concern about Trump attaining the presidency. For Gohmert to end on the note he did is unconscionable. Claiming Trump could do what he did because he felt he was fighting back is bloody criminal arrogance.

      I can’t stand the one word answers from Mueller. He could give strong answers w/a compelling vocabulary of the criminality of Trump and his gang and he’s not. Luckily, the Dems are quoting and giving citations from the report but I don’t think their providing such is sufficient to carry the day. Still, Dems far better than the Repugs who are criminally defending Trump.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Johnson of GA should get more time to ask questions. He is way above average for the Dems.

  7. orionATL says:

    this is wonderful.

    every Republican congressman speaking is drawing attention to president trump’s conduct re obstruction. the more they all keep insisting the president was innocent, the more skeptical an observer might become that he was not innocent. keep talking boys.

    the democrat congresscritters speaking seems to be trying to educate observers to key parts of the mueller report.

  8. Vicks says:

    Look at it from the view of someone who just turned on the TV to get the weather and traffic.
    Dems are speaking slowly and semi-clearly each describing an OMG theme like right now; Trump trying to fire Mueller, and describing the multiple incidents of how and when. Anyone watching 5 minutes has a clear picture of at least one incident that can shape an opinion.
    Republicans are describing weedy incidents, who wrote the 9 minute comments?
    Pals with Comey? Stroke’s animus? Lots of sound bites for later but totally meaningless for folks tuning in that won’t be watching Fox or reading maga material later.

  9. Rayne says:

    Just added Jennifer Taub to the list of Twitter accounts to follow as she’s live tweeting a numbered thread:


    I like having several accounts to follow at the same time because one may catch something others miss. Many eyes make all bugs shallow.

    • Democritus says:

      Thanks for that list Rayne, those are tremendously helpful for me and I tucked it away for day to day reading or when a big story breaks. I just found Taub recently because of Epstein and corporate corruption, she also makes a point of calling out the GOPs blatant and disgusting use of Jews as a shield against being called racist.

  10. Jonf says:

    Mueller seems unable to keep up with this other than to say yes or no and I wonder if he even understands what he says.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Mueller is doing fine. The environment is a tad more stressful than answering a question in Double Jeopardy.

      He’s done enough witness interviews that he is normally careful to wait for a congresscritter to ask a question. As Jordan illustrated, sometimes that’s never.

      Mueller’s job is to respond to specific questions, not to craft a narrative. That’s Nadler’s job; it’s still a work in progress.

      Ari Melber, on the other hand, has his narrative – there’s no there there. That might keep his normalizing producer happy, but I think he is being obtuse and arguing ahead of his facts.

  11. Democritus says:

    Man you guys are fucking awesome! Ok got my non Mueller thoughts cleared from my head and time to dig in to my DVR and catch up with the recommended twitter threads.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jungle Jim Jordan!

    He’s decided that storytelling is a bigger winner than asking a question.

    Now he’s auditioning as a tobacco auctioneer. Sold, American!

  13. RWood says:

    And now we have Gym Jordan grandstanding as usual. Pretending to be totally ignorant of procedure.

  14. Lara Kelley says:

    Mueller’s testimony reminds me of a deposition. I like how he’s pretty snappy with his answers to the Dems, while with the Republicans there’s a lot of “don’t recall,” “where is the citation,” “repeat the question.” I agree that the optics of him fumbling for words aren’t good, but I’m absolutely certain he went into this knowing that no matter what he said, the Republicans were going to say their spiel and the Democrats were going to say theirs. It’s a political minefield and everyone is looking at Mueller basically wanting him to say either that the president is innocent, or that’s he’s guilty.

    Also find it interesting that Dems seem to have come prepared with specific page cites, while Republicans basically blow hot air.

    • MattyG says:

      No GOP page sites because they can’t let on that they’ve read the report even if they have. It will look bad later if they are shown to have actually read it and not drawn some of the more obvious conclusions.

  15. Frank Probst says:

    Ugh. All legalese should be rephrased into plain English. Words like “exculpatory” need to be clearly defined so that an average person can understand what the hell people are saying.

  16. gmoke says:

    Mueller has now twice publicly stated that the OLC opinion that a sitting President cannot be criminally indicted means that such a thing is unconstitutional. AFAIK, the Supreme Court has ruled that a sitting President can be civilly sued but has not ruled on whether a sitting President can be criminally indicted. Why does Mueller say it is unconstitutional to indict a sitting President if it is simply an OLC opinion?

    • bmaz says:

      Well, that is the conclusion of the OLC opinion. I think it quite wrong, but that is the basis Mueller is going off of.

      • gmoke says:

        Therefore, the OLC opinion is what I believe the lawyers call “moot,” a debatable point since the Supremes have yet to rule on it.

        • bmaz says:

          It is absolutely not moot. It is the binding policy for the DOJ until it is withdrawn or challenged in court.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Matt Gaetz is mimicking Gym Jordan. He has better hair and a tailor, fewer brains, and more entitlement.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “It is absurd to suggest…” that Matt Gaetz is qualified to be a congresscritter.

      His audition as an attack dog is easily dismissed. Among other things, he is obviously reading from someone else’s script, but doesn’t understand it.

      • Democritus says:

        Nice shade, accurate to boot I’m sure.

        I made it about a minute into Jim Jordan, my brain keeps calling him Jim Jones, before I hit pause to let my brain breathe. So odious.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          William and Mary at that. Well, Harvard gives its MBAs to the oddest of creatures, too.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ken Buck, R of CO, is lauding Mueller, which means he’s about to tear him a new one.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      But he’s pontificating rather than asking Mueller a question, an obvious theme followed by today’s GOP.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Finally, in response to Buck’s commentary, Mueller says “We did not make that calculation,” regarding whether Trump committed a crime, because the OLC says the president cannot be charged with a crime.

    • MattyG says:

      Buck asks him why he could make a judgement on conspiracy, but not on obstruction, but sort of fumbles by going on about “throwing things against the wall” instead of just pausing and let Mueller explain why he could in one case and couldn’t in the other.

    • bmaz says:

      Maybe, but if he gets reelected, probably not, because the statutes of limitation will have expired.

      • Geoff says:

        Which is why he is that much more inclined to welcome more Russian interference in the next election, and do nothing about protecting the integrity of our elections.

      • Skilly says:

        Exactly! I was surprised that Mueller avoided that question when asked directly by the Intel committee. Trump completely avoids accountability if he is reelected.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The existence of a conspiracy and finding evidence of it are two separate things.

    It would be helpful of Mueller or a Dem to point that out. It’s even more important to point out that the purpose of obstruction is to make finding evidence of other crimes harder.

    Biggs is trying hard to confuse Mueller and to attack his credibility.

    • Democritus says:

      Yes! It’s frustrating, and it would be nice to clear it up. It’s been going on for months…

        • Geoff says:

          I said it up thread, I think this whole investigation aged him terribly. He looks tired and unable to focus half of the time. I think this is why Zebley was jammed into the proceedings so late in the game – to act as an aid, because Mueller either stated or it was determined that he wasn’t up to snuff.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Watched snippets and bits. Some on a larger tv screen, some on a phone screen. Even on the phone screen, he does not look well.
            Very glad that Zebley and other colleagues were close by.

    • fpo says:

      Anticipating a full day of this – & having to sit in the same room and listen to Gohmert, Collins, Gaetz and Jungle Gym – will do that to ya.

  21. Lara Kelley says:

    Andy Biggs – “Evidence suggests.” Umm.. what evidence? Bring a document or credible witness, or it’s hearsay.

    • harpie says:

      I think he is a JAG
      added: https://lieu.house.gov/about
      Recognizing the great opportunities America had given to his family, Ted wanted to serve his country to preserve the American Dream. He joined the United States Air Force, where he served in the JAG corps. After serving on active duty for four years, Ted wanted to continue to serve his country and joined the Reserves. Ted has received numerous medals for his outstanding military service, including the Air Force Humanitarian Service Medal and multiple Meritorious Service Medals.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Two BAs, computer science and political science, Stanford. JD, Georgetown. Ninth Circuit clerkship. Air Force JAG

  22. Democritus says:

    Nadler should point at the next rep up, or the democrats should wave at the start of their questioning, so Mueller doesn’t have to search each time.

    ETA, I’m behind in my dvr and agree that Lieu is doing a great job with formatting his question around the elements of the crime.

    Also, anyone know who the guy with the walrus mustache behind Mueller is!

    • MB says:

      That’s James Quarles, the “other ” lawyer who along with Aaron Zebley was supposed to testify to the Intelligence Committee in closed session at the end of the day, before the Justice Dept. essentially quashed that hearing…

      • Democritus says:

        Thanks! Not everyone can pull off such a magnificent mustache with such aplomb as he does, Bolton tries and fails.

  23. Trent says:

    Why does Mueller, twice, affirm Jeffries’ and Lieu’s evidence of Trump meeting the 3 obstruction hurdles then interject his opinion that he doesn’t agree with the conclusion?

  24. Bay State Librul says:

    I’m with BMAZ.
    Mueller isn’t feeling well.
    I think age might be a factor (close to 75).
    I’m not saying this to be mean, but this is going horribly.

    • Eureka says:

      Right, this all is putting a new light on his insistence to stick to written statements and not wanting to testify in the past.

      Adding: it may still have a very positive public impact and cue more reps to go for impeachment inquiry. But yeah we are watching the same thing…

      • Democritus says:

        Agreed, though he did seem to perk up around 11:26 when he was like let me finish my answer. But it would fit with him sticking within the report because he doesn’t want to inadvertently mislead people.

        I hope he is ok, but as I’ve seen said. we will need to save ourselves.

        We may have to march to demand impeachment if the Democrats refuse to do their duty and work to lead public sentiment be exposing facts in an impeachment inquiry. Some of Trumps vase can’t be reached, but we can put a note of caution in their attempts to throw 2020 and work to motivate the 60%-65% of the country who wants no part in this. But almost half the population can’t afford a $500 emergency, they aren’t going to have time to read a 400 page report but weeks of hearings will break through.

        And for god sakes stop scheduling protests on weekdays, or hundred of miles away from population centers. *Rant over*

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Being almost 75 is not the issue. Something else is going on. Mueller’s testimony must have taken great effort; it’s good that he had a wingman.
          I ran into one of my favorite men yesterday; he’s 79 and was coming off a tennis court with great energy and bright complexion. I know other men Mueller’s age who are golfing up a storm.

          As for 2020, the people that I know who ‘took a chance’ on Trump and loathed Hillary have some interesting things in common, mostly going to 2008:
          — One lost the bulk of her retirement account of 30 years with a phone company in Sept 2008, never got it back, and no one on Wall Street was prosecuted by Obama/Biden
          — One had made $600,000+ for over a decade of housing boom, put at least 20% of it in the market each year, as she’d been advised, and lost most of her fund in Sept 2008, never got it back, and no one on Wall Street was prosecuted by Obama/Biden

          I could go on and on. But you get the idea.
          These people are not racists; they played by the rules, they were screwed — and after first being screwed by the stock market, and then screwed by the failure of regulators to protect them, or the legal system to give them any sense of justice — they would have voted for a damp washcloth over anyone remotely associated with Obama and the feckless Dems. That does not make them stupid, nor does it make them racist. They were angry enough to ‘burn the house down’, because they felt that they were out of other options.

          The Dems need to stop slamming these people as ‘racists’ and take a good, hard look in a mirror. Meanwhile, donate in amounts as small as $1 to ActBlue for a wide range of candidates, to avoid the corrupt DNC, or the corrupt DCCC.

          What scares me is that these same people, who lost retirement savings they’ll never get back, now have to watch the news that a criminal outfit cannot be prosecuted, that Trump is somehow untouchable, because ‘back in the day’ someone wrote a memo. You think that makes government look credible to these folks? I’m not seeing it.
          I’d love to be wrong.

          • Americana says:

            There’s NO EXCUSE for having chosen Trump. None. There’s no financial reason to have chosen Trump. There’s no patriotic reason for having chosen Trump. Idiocy chose Trump.

            Anyone who investigated the man to any extent discovered his history and his Russian connections. From that, they should have been able to discover the worst of the Russian dealings in which Trump was involved as well as become aware Trump’s been angling to get a Trump Tower Moscow for over 25 years. I’m sympathetic to their financial plight but there’s nothing about Trump’s platform that would have saved their bacon or improved their lifestyle all that much. And if they fall for his BS again this time around, they won’t be getting that 10% middle class tax cut he’s already dangled on the hook nor will they get decent health care. Buyer beware! Buyer be scared!

    • Pajaro says:

      His entire life and career is spent in service to his country. Now he sees that many of its foundation institutions and principals are not working, in fact have been trashed. Of course he looks tired, shaken to the core by events.

  25. Lara Kelley says:

    I like how the Democrats are organized, methodically going through each obstruction incident and ending it almost every time stating that “no one is above the law.” Republicans mostly are doing character assassination and calling the evidence into doubt. Also, why are they questioning Mueller personally regarding certain directions of the investigation? Rosenstein was there every step of the way.

    Also, the fact that he relies on the Democrats to read the statements into the record is smart – denies news to use his quotes as conclusions. Especially since Democrats have picked through the report to get the best quotes, while Republicans don’t really seem to have anything juicy to have him read into the record.

    • orionATL says:

      yes. democrats seem calm and well-prepared.

      given their laser-like reminders of presidential misconduct and occasional mueller’s affirmative response, it will be interesting to see if the msm continue their drive to declare the Russian investigation a dead letter.

      the republican c’s angry demeanor and legalistic defenses are well worn by now and may not go over so well with msm.

  26. fpo says:

    GOP backbenchers running out of gas – “…I defer the balance of my time to Rep. Jordan…” – damage control, I guess.
    IMO, this was never going to go “well” – what you see is what you get – and that hasn’t changed since the day the report was released. Just a matter of some not as bad as others. All things equal, I think Mueller’s doing OK for a ‘hostile’ witness.

  27. Eureka says:

    I KNEW IT– Scanlon going for the Volume I (well conspiracy-related stuff)

    (she visited the Mueller evidence vault multiple times)

    WIkiLeaks, Stone, Trump advance knowledge, Apdx. C

    now to page 18 Vol II and Gates…

    yielded back time.

    • Eureka says:

      Garcia following up, incl. with info from Stone indictment but Mueller blocking talk of same due to ongoing prosecution.

    • Eureka says:

      Clip of Scanlon-Mueller testimony segment:

      Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon: “Director Mueller confirmed this today: Trump knew about Russia’s sweeping and systematic attacks on our election. Trump knew about Wikileaks’ dumps of emails stolen by Russia and lied to investigators about it. #MuellerHearing #MuellerHearings #MuellerReport (testimony clip)”

      “MGS: Your report also stated, that “in addition, some witnesses said…that Trump privately sought information about future WikiLeaks releases.” Is that correct? Mueller: Correct. #MuellerHearing #MuellerTestimony #MuellerHearings”

      • Democritus says:

        Nice, they need to push out clips on social media that people can share around. Lead in some messaging for a change.

    • Eureka says:

      C-SPAN is a mild disaster as usual. Scanlon (and other frosh from break-end thru Garcia, who is separate) are under Nadler clip and text here:


      LOL at some transcript errors (“Jesus” among them).

      NB: Scanlon gets no results in search (even) by pre-filled name drop-down selection, so I assume that’s true of the other frosh who went before Garcia.

  28. Bay State Librul says:

    Final analysis:

    My gut is that the American people want decisive answers.
    In this setting, we are getting, a whole bunch of maybes.
    The only avenue is impeachment where we can hear from the witnesses.
    I’m not sure I can blame Mueller, but I’m getting pretty close to saying that “he is out of touch,” and maybe he was manipulated by Barr.

  29. Tom says:

    I wonder how many Republicans are learning new facts about Trump’s actions and conversations today, assuming the ones who claim not to have read the Mueller report are telling the truth.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One does not inquire into the foibles of the gods. One accepts or lacks faith and is excised from the body of Landru.

    • Americana says:

      Republicans have to be willing to take note of ALL Trump’s behavior and actions during the campaign and then his term in order to evaluate and label the criminality of his actions. Trump hiding his signed Letter of Intent for Trump Tower Moscow and the bribe to Putin of the Trump Tower Moscow penthouse valued at $50 MILLION that was under consideration but which bribe is claimed not to have been made (I find that personally hard to believe). Trump’s plethora of denials of being financially beholden to Russians in any way and not having any deals in Russia and on and on… All denials which he insisted his sons repeat. (Note, that Ivanka was pretty much left out of handling most of the denials of Trump-Russian financial involvement. Yet another sign Trump was aware of the criminality he was demanding of his staff and of family members such as Don Jr.).

      During the post-morning press conference, it was disgusting hearing Republicans trying to claim the American people are “losing faith in the report and are demanding the Congress move forward on infrastructure and other legislation”. Based on the tweets sent to Trump and the social media posts I’m reading, most Americans feel Trump is guilty of many, many high crimes and misdemeanors and is suspected of many more even more egregious crimes that are yet to be fully fleshed out by the testimony of witnesses. Impeachment is justified. Impeachment is consequential for all involved. Impeachment is required in this horrific instance w/Trump to remind American political parties and individual politicians and adversarial countries that American politicians cannot be used as tools for the advancement of the aims of adversarial countries. Impeachment is the answer. Impeachment is the only means of rectification for what Trump has done in order to gain the presidency and for how Trump has conducted his presidency w/quid pro quo such as his statements in the Helsinki summit.

  30. Eureka says:

    oooh, is Mueller *pissed* at Armstrong re political affiliations of hirees- Mueller has never asked same as basis of hiring– now we are getting some heat!

  31. di says:

    The one(s) that should be up there being grilled, should be the president, the vice president and other publicly accountable people. That would be real justice.

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    LOL. GOP Congresscritter Armstrong lectures Mueller about bias, conflicts of interest, and the appearance of propriety.

    Among other laugh-out-loud funny things is Armstrong’s assumption that investigators of a Republican must be Republican, whereas investigators of a Democrat could be from planet X, but must never be Democrats.

      • Democritus says:

        It was nice to be able to see them with having to see mr orange himself. I also love the minimalist calm background here.

        • Eureka says:

          Reminds me: Claire McCaskill did the Trump screw-up on air (think bw the two testimonies) and said oranges for origins.

          While N=2, perhaps we are onto a new cognitive screen.

          • Democritus says:


            I bet a good number of us will all be armchair neurologists by the time this is done.

            This guys twitter is all over it, but I always worry about confirmation bias, because good god I want my fucked up, imperfectly wonderful and messy but getting better, country back.


  33. fpo says:

    Well, there you go. Barr told Mueller he couldn’t say the “I” word. Thnking that must have been the Resident’s idea…Simple, but stupid.

  34. sand says:

    As these hearings almost certainly will not add any new information, the most important thing may be the image they leave. I am only at 09:15 EDT on the DVR, but I see a lot of angry ~younger~ Republicans yelling at a lifelong Republican who has spent almost 60 years serving his country with honor and distinction. I am hopeful this image sticks with the AARP Republican voters next year.

    Since 2016, Trump and his supporters have spent a good bit of time beating up on their older, respected, white peers like McCain, Bush, Sr., and now Mueller. Trump has decided to beat up on Biden for his age as well. Without older white voters, I don’t think the Republicans are left with much of a base. I’m hopeful that voters will realize that today’s GOP has little respect for their elders.

    • Rayne says:

      Confirmation of obstruction of justice if they don’t want to rely solely on the SCO’s investigation in spite of McGahn’s testimony before SCO.

      • jonb says:

        I thought I heard Mueller say in regards to don jr…I cant answer that because there is a current CI. investigation…that is news

  35. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Did Mueller and the Democrats uncover any evidence of wrongdoing yet? The fate of our democracy-loving, non-dictator-supporting, non-empire-building government hangs in the balance. I wait eagerly to learn how the Dems are going to bring justice.

    • Rayne says:

      “Did Mueller and the Democrats uncover any evidence of wrongdoing yet?”

      I’m going to let this comment go through in spite of this opening salvo which smells distinctly trollish.

      First off, the Special Counsel’s Office investigation yielded (subject to correction, I may be off a few numbers):

      34 individuals and three separate companies indicted, including
      — 25 counts Manafort
      — 29 counts Gates
      — 1 count Papadopoulos
      — 1 count (to date) Flynn
      — 2 counts Cohen
      — 7 counts Stone
      — 1 count Pinedo
      — 1 count van der Zwaan
      — 161 counts 25 Russian nationals & 3 Russian companies

      Out of these, 7 guilty pleas to date

      1 unindicted co-conspirator, ‘Individual 1’ (Cohen’s client in the White House)
      10 episodes of obstruction of justice by Trump

      Ongoing prosecution of Roger Stone
      Other investigations ongoing, results TBD (if not killed by AG Barr)
      $48 million in recovered taxes and fines

      All laid out in a 448-page report which also documented Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      The Democrats did not do this work; the Democrats are in the process of performing their own investigation through House Committees.

      Welcome back to emptywheel. If you were a regular here you’d already know all the above.

      • Democritus says:

        Oh it was worth it just to get a copy of that great summary I can cite for my responses to trolls.


        *insert shade fall over the cityscape gif*

        I will also add if people are looking for a nice sweet treat the Ben and Jerry’s new ice cream with a big core of cookie dough is amazing. I will have to limit how frequently we keep it in the house because that core is no more.

    • RWood says:

      “Did Mueller and the Democrats uncover any evidence of wrongdoing yet?”

      That question alone sums up the biggest problem; the lack of an informed public.

      Pelosi says she won’t start an impeachment inquiry “unless the public supports it”. (Ignoring the cart/horse issue that points to) So how do you educate the public when it refuses to be educated? Maybe show them what those who have think?

      Polling shows that only 3% of the population have read the report. Yet we continue to ask the public at large about trumps crimes and their views on impeachment when polling for Pelosi’s ever-elusive majority.

      How about we poll ONLY those who have read the report? Or, read the report AND watched today’s hearings? Those should be qualifiers for continued questioning and those results be included in the data.
      In short: let those who have bothered to educate themselves have their say.

      Who knows someone at PEW? I think polling that says “99% of respondents (who have read the report in its entirety) support the start of an impeachment inquiry” would go a long way toward convincing the ones who have not read it.

      Today’s hearing will help, but I don’t think it will bring the pressure on grandma that is needed. I can only hope the next hearing does.

  36. Democritus says:

    I’m going through Barb’s tweets and I hope they manage to get into this also, though I really liked how the Dems worked together to establish the elements of obstruction.

    “After the break, I hope they ask about specific episodes of coordination with Russia – communications with WikiLeaks, Trump Tower meeting to get dirt on Hillary, etc. This was an attack on our election. Trump welcomed it and then concealed it. Less Mueller process, more substance”

    Her other advice was
    “The politics of this are frustrating. Let’s focus on the substance – Mueller found that Russia attacked America, Trump helped and then lied to cover it up. Mueller could not charge a sitting president with a crime. The process for addressing presidential misconduct is impeachment”

    https://twitter.com/BarbMcQuade/status/1154032215086362625 first tweet

    https://twitter.com/BarbMcQuade/status/1154041279036084224 second

  37. Eureka says:

    Dean is acutely attentive to Barr-related matters (in general, and in Qs today).

    I’m waiting on a clip, but Dean _may_ have gotten something useful out of Mueller (an answer in another way) on Barr’s CBS news (fireside chat) claims that Mueller could have made a criminal determination.

    After bringing up that interview, she asks (approximately; need transcript): ~’Did Barr or staff ever tell you that he thought _you_ should make a decision on whether the president engaged in criminal activity?

    Mueller: “I’m not going to speak to what the atty gen was thinking or saying”

    Dean: ~~If atty gen had directed you make a determination would you have so done?

    Mueller: I cant answer that question in a vacuum.

    Dean first tried to extract testimony on “public confusion” due to Barr’s interference with the summaries, Mueller’s letter re same, and Barr gaslighting the public with the Barr letter– Mueller kept referring back to his March 27th letter (from which she had quoted), wouldn’t elaborate beyond it.

    She also stated (re the March 27th letter) ~~ Which _you_ wrote (and he did not disagree). (Obviously referring to Barr’s snitty underling claim).

    Meantime, she has posted a snippet of her summary statement:

    Congresswoman Madeleine Dean: “The Mueller Report did not exonerate the President. It is now our constitutional obligation to hold him accountable. #MuellerTestimony (screenshot text)”

    • Geoff says:

      Nunes going full blown, all-in RWNJ conspiracy theory on Misfud. If you ever read that section of the report, or listened to it on Audible, or got the exact full detail of his interactions with the doofus nobody Papadapolous, and had any ability to discern reality from knowing anything about how people who are nobody’s try to parlay all sorts of garbage into some sort of importance, you would see that they are both just basic con-men, both trying to play the other, but only one really realizing what is going on, and it ain’t Pappy.

  38. Eureka says:

    HPSCI and some of Mueller’s responses here are much stronger, from what I have seen. Makes sense, Mueller would be more comfortable with this set of investigative facts (as opposed to obstruction including the more personally-relevant factor of Trump trying to shut down his investigation; would be/feel more “objective” to someone like him). Now making sense for dems to have done it in this order if only for a strong close.

    • Democritus says:

      Oh good, I’ve been catching up on reading while letting a buffer build after Schiff’s round. Man that guy was like my quintessential view of a tough prosecutor, or lawyer really. Boom, boom, boom.

      That place, newnowthis maybe, that puts progressive stuff to music and pushes it on twitter should do a blend that and his, Schiff’s, opening statement. With outtakes from the report.

      Maybe also going trigger Trump by pointing out he really probably would not have won without all of Russia’s interference and his campaign finance crimes . The margin was ~78,000 votes over three states. ( like Himes is getting at- I’m behind on dvr) they need to use the other witness

  39. Lara Kelley says:

    I wasn’t aware House Intelligence Committee = House Judiciary Committee. Given all the discussion of “exonerate.”

      • punaise says:

        Crazy, huh? Records are falling everywhere. It’s a warm / hot pleasant mid-80s here in air conditioned coastal Brittany.

        • Democritus says:

          Oh how nice, are you doing St. Malo? I’ve always wanted to go see it, but I was always around Paris or the South with the crepe carts along the Riveria .

          *discrete dabbles at drool pooling in corner of mouth*

          Have extra fun and recharge those pun making batteries.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, very Joe McCarthy-ish tactic that. Critical commentary from the MSM is warranted. Surprised he didn’t say 57 or 105.

    • Eureka says:

      Especially when we know the only ones he gave examples of (the Mueller March 27th letter, e.g.) appear to have come from DOJ (stamped received by RR office or similar, as I recall), with pre-leaks from same to soften the blow before we got the summaries.

      I was arguing with this segment the whole time!

  40. Eureka says:

    208pm money quote: “Problematic is an understatement” re Trump’s WikiLeaks tweets Quigley quoted from posterboard.

    Seems based on Mueller’s opinion that WL is hostile non-state actor.

    Also, the Marine showed up at 148pm, will add exact quote later.

    • Eureka says:

      This, too, when he earlier would not come out and affirmatively state that Manafort sharing the polling data/other fine-grained election-related material (with someone he agreed was alleged RU-intel-tied) would ~ put national security at risk.

      Latter example may be related to non-speculation on potential future prosecutions; same doesn’t apply to Trump praising WL under 1A tho (i.e. Trump could not be prosecuted for that).

      Still an interesting contrast in his responses.

      • Rayne says:

        I really fucking detest Chuck Todd. He is such a tool. No moral spine save for making sure he bashes the left whenever he makes a comment about the right-wing in some faux both-sides-ism.

        • pjb says:

          I frankly thought Todd’s tweet about Dems winning substance but optics were catastrophic was the most offensive thing I saw today (yes, including dingbats like Nunes, Gaetz, Gohmert, et al) This is the core problem: the infotainment media are in a symbiotic death spiral with Trump. Everything is seen through the lens of ratings and made-for-tv moments. Its all “reality” and no actual reality. It makes me question all my lifelong free market assumptions about for profit “news” media.

          Meanwhile, a man like Mueller, who is the antithesis of a tv star: taciturn, careful, exact, is seen as unsteady or even “doddering” when alot of the time you can see the wheels turning in his head as he fumbles for the least soundbitable way to express himself and carefully answer (or not answer) the question.

    • Eureka says:

      Important “blackmail” contrasts (both the Qs and the As):

      ●Mueller 147pm to Carson:

      Carson ~~ would you agree Manafort vulnerable to blackmail due to Manafort’s contacts with Russians close to Putin/efforts to exchange private info on Americans for money

      Mueller: I’d say generally so, that would be the case

      (just before this is when he wouldn’t get into to answering about natsec risk of handing over polling/other data)

      ●Marcy 243pm:

      “Castro: Did your investigation consider whether Trump would be vulnerable to blackmail? Mueller: Can’t speak to that.”

      ●Adding 316p Krishnamoorthi blackmail susceptibility Q on Flynn

      Mueller: Cannot get into that (before question fully winds up)

      Marcy on this segment:

      “Krishnamoorthi: You did not reach conclusions abt vulnerability to blackmail. Krishnamoorthi has probably read the one footnote that may address this.”

      “Mueller says that many aspects of FBI CURRENTLY looking into issues of Trump blackmail.”

    • Eureka says:

      “Not that it’s not true” at 148pm is when the Marine showed up (context is ~re Manafort polling data), right after the blackmail question:

      Carson: Would you agree sir that these acts demonstrated a betrayal of the democratic values of- our country rests on?

      Mueller: Uh (shaking head no) I can’t agree with that

      Carson: (Begins next question–)

      Mueller interrupts.


      Not that it–

      Not that it’s not true–

      But I cannot agree with that.

      During the clarification, he makes emphatic hand gestures, moving esp. once towards himself, his chest, when he says “Not that it’s not true.” (then back to gesturing away/towards the questioner when he restates that he cannot agree with that).

  41. klynn says:

    CBS doing sharp commentary. Pointed out that not one GOP on the committee has countered Schiff’s series of questions and Mueller’s affirmative answers. CBS said that alone should make America wake up.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks — and whoa, they’ve not been particularly solid in the past. Do you remember who it was who was commenting?

          CNN still sucks, that’s for sure. Way to go, Tapper.

      • Tom says:

        Network. Major Garrett & Norah O’Donnell pointing out that GOP seem obsessed by “origins” and not disputing the facts of Russian sabotage or Trump’s efforts to obstruct. Sorry klynn, didn’t mean butt in on your answer.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for that clarification on commenters. Nice to know who to check in the future though they still need to earn some cred with me.

        • klynn says:

          No problem. Was delayed in replying due to work! I normally do not watch CBS so I was appreciative of their observations.

  42. Jonf says:

    I like Castro and would like more on this Moscow Hotel stuff since I think it helps explain Trumps likes for Ru.

  43. Lara Kelley says:

    What is the point of the Republican committee members trying to ask questions at all, if apparently all they have are useless inquiries about Steele? They may as well yield all their time to Nunez. Did none of them do any kind of prep?

    • Rayne says:

      There’s a point to it. It reinforces a talking point they’re using in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the investigation as well as Steele’s credibility. Another point is that Putin in particular appreciates any opportunity to trash Steele after Steele’s role in the FIFA investigation.

      They’re literally doing Putin’s work right under our noses.

      • Lara Kelley says:

        I think I wasn’t very clear – I understand why they are questioning Steele’s credibility, but given Mueller’s continued statements that he won’t answer, including his opening statement from the outset, I don’t understand why they kept bashing their heads against a brick wall.

        • Rayne says:

          Repetition embeds the meme. Takes four attempts for the average dog to learn a trick — the repetition works.

          Besides, they were only given one set of papers each from which to work. They aren’t going to work extemporaneously, they’re reading what their assignment is in front of them: keep repeating the meme.

          At least we’ll know them by their flattened foreheads.

          • BobCon says:

            The repetition is also signalling to leadership that they are obedient. It’s a version of frat hazing.

  44. Jonf says:

    Schiff ended this nicely. Hotel Trump Moscow indeed. It’s all about money for him. Who’s pocket?

  45. Tom says:

    All in all, I thought today went rather well for the Democrats and the country. By refusing to discuss anything but the Steele dossier,Peter Strzok’s text messages, and Joseph Mifsud–Major Garrett said on CBS that the Republicans probably baffled their supporters by bringing Maltese Joe out of the woodwork and shoving him into the role of criminal Deep State mastermind–they pretty well left the field open to the Democrats to discuss all of the Trump team’s contacts with the Russians and Trump’s efforts to cover up his actions, with hardly any effort on the part of the GOP to push back on any of that. I also thought it was a good move to end on the matter of Trump’s motive in all this–MONEY–as that certainly makes sense given the image of himself that Trump has presented over the years. Anyway, that’s how the day seemed to go from my point of view. The only thing I think the Repubs learned today is that their yelling-at-the-witness schtick doesn’t go over so well on TV, at least when the witness is someone like Robert Mueller. They were noticeably more subdued and respectful in the p.m..

  46. jonb says:

    for the lawyers here…are counterintelligence investigators
    able to do their job without revealing to the protector in chief , mr Barr, what it is they are investigating.. maybe not such a “legal” question

  47. Lara Kelley says:

    I haven’t been following other social media threads and realized that my perception of the hearing is really different from the public’s perception. Working in law seems to skew my idea of how well the hearing went. Personally, I thought it was fantastic. Mueller was very disciplined, absolutely professional, never wavered from the conclusions of the investigation, respected privilege/DOJ work product, counter-intelligence concerns, ongoing cases, and very much aware of the incredible amount of power and responsibility he had today. He didn’t get distracted by the million of other issues raised by both Republicans and Democrats, because it would have just devolved into political blather. If he had given even one off-the-cuff sound byte, I think it literally could have launched impeachment proceedings or killed them. Instead, he continues leave the responsibility with Congress – like Schiff states at the end and like the Constitution says.

    I’ve been reading that everyone else says he sounds weak, old, doddering, not quite with it, not familiar with all the work of the investigation, and it’s not going to play well with the public. Which, I guess I agree. But from a professional standpoint, I think his behavior was exemplary, despite how visibly worn down he was. My grandfather died at 74. I hope that when I’m 74, I’m living in a villa on a Greek island, not testifying before hyenas about the president of a geopolitically powerful country with nukes.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Well, ianal, but I thought the same, Lara. He didn’t get lead down the garden path by the R’s and he stayed on message. It would’ve been nice to have a bombshell of some kind, but I figured beforehand that that wasn’t going to happen. So overall I thought he did the very best job he could – under very trying circumstances.

    • Vicks says:

      Hmm not so sure.
      Mueller looked as if he were processing things slowly and perhaps as if he were not as familiar with what was in the report as what people expected him to be.
      In Mueller’s defense it has to be brutal for a guy that methodical to be put in that position. There is a shit-ton of information in that report, and even a youthful brain can only store it in an easily retrievable format for so long. It may sound trivial but It’s hard (especially for linear thinkers) to listen closely to something long and tedious when you don’t know what you are listening for (think word problems) When Mueller would ask to have it repeated it they (republicans) would do it in a way that that made in look foolish or take it upon themselves to “explain” rather than repeat as if it were a problem with comprehension and not context.
      With the pile of data in the report I’m not sure why dems didn’t have a system in place to identify the pages being referenced before they began to speak so Mueller could be connecting the dots AS they were asking thier questions.
      It would have moved things along quicker and Muller would have more time (yes every second matters) to process a question before answering.

      • Lara Kelley says:

        I admittedly didn’t watch much of his facial expressions but listened to his testimony. I took his constant asking for page cites to mean he wanted absolutely everything in his testimony to be cited from the report, with nothing unsubstantiated. The hearing transcripts are now part of public record. They are documents which can be admitted into evidence at other trials, used as exhibits in motion practice for future cases, and making a careless/out of context statement would give defense lawyers some good ammunition. That’s certainly something I would at if I handled a related case.

        As for repeatedly asking for the question to be restated, I think it does serve a few purposes. Like you mentioned, a delay tactic- there were plenty of questions which were minefields to navigate. Definitely clarification, to make sure he fully understands what’s being asked, especially in such a politically charged environment. Give a politician a chance to repeat their question and in some cases it clarified their intent, and telegraphed the answer they wanted to lead him to. And again, a chance to get it on the record, in the case he is asked to testify again about the same set of questions, or he’s used as a witness in some future proceeding. I didn’t think he really needed to connect any dots because as he said- the report speaks for itself.

        That being said, I don’t doubt he was tired and there were times he struggled. I also don’t doubt that there were many, many moving parts in the investigation. I was a little annoyed when someone asked him if he personally attended all the interviews. Because I totally expect the managing partner of a firm to be present at every deposition of every matter.

        Anyway, I evaluated his testimony not just as politics, but part of written record, so I guess that’s where some of my thoughts come from.

        • harpie says:

          I was thinking the same thing about the page cites, etc, but hadn’t thought it all through like this. Thanks!

        • Democritus says:

          Second harpie’s thank you, and thinking about his testimony with your context in mind, he was meticulous about getting citations, even in line with questions at time, like saying I presume you have a citation for that?

        • Vicks says:

          I agree except for the Mueller “didn’t need to connect the dots part.”
          The report only “speaks for itself” if one’s goal is to read it and understand what is written. It can’t speak for itself when on live TV the words are cherry picked, or parsed, or more than likely taken out of context to create “evidence” of an alternative version of events.
          Mueller needed to “connect the dots” first to make sure he actually said what they were quoting and second to make sure that they were using his words in the proper context to make their point. These a-h*les are crafty.
          That being said Mueller did his job. His investigation was intense, It appears the rule nerd was as unbiased as they come and gifted the dems a gem of a report. His job wasn’t to save us but to give us a powerful tool to do OUR job.
          But we knew that. We knew that when we saw the report on April 18th and he reminded us again when he gave his press conference.
          But we waited anyway.
          We are the real folks Trump is playing.

        • ItTollsForYou says:

          Lara, I’m right with you on your analysis. Something I was also considering (that may be true or not) is that this was a case of Mueller having too much information in his head, rather than too little. He has likely been wading through mountains of counter-intelligence information, grand jury info, ongoing matters, etc. and was careful to take his time and not agree to anything that he wouldn’t be able to reveal.
          Basically, I don’t think anyone who is criticizing his demeanor or slow responses has any clue about what calculations were going on inside his head.

          • Lara Kelley says:

            I definitely agree. So many things to balance, and undoubtedly aware that the Kremlin’s intelligence agencies would watch and analyze the hearing to debrief Putin (or perhaps someone a little lower in their hierarchy), while facing what amounts to a Russia friendly Republican party. May as well explain the meaning, methods of investigation, and counter intelligence infrastructure through the back channel named Congress (that is my paranoia/tin hat speaking).

            In any case, I have no idea how he did it.

    • orionATL says:

      lara kelley-

      i happen to agree with your characterization of the hearing and mueller’s conduct.

      personally, i have learned to deeply discount “social media” commentary from media mavens and their herds of followers. this information is most often a mixture of gossip and ill-informed speculation which has a very short shelf life. the problem with these mob commentaries is, however, they can become self-fulfilling.

      mueller is not a demonstrative person. he promised ahead of time to say nothing new. there was no reason to expect more than what we saw of his testimony. in fact, however, i thought he had occasional important, brief agreements with questions from some democratic congressmen.

      that he would be at times confused or suddenly cautious is no more than any of us would do if we had his job to do today. and i don’t doubt he got tired; who would not.

      there was no reason before the hearing and no reason after to think that Mueller had the responsibility to initiate an impeachment inquiry. that lies with the house of reps.

      i will say that in watching the hearings on abc i was impressed, when it came commentary time, how people like stephanopolis clearly did not feel any obligation on the part of the media to participate in holding the president to account for colluding with the Russian government. it is certainly the case that virtually any media figure outside fox news understands that the case against trump for presidential misconduct is quite strong. yet the mainstream media sit on their hands, thereby in trump’s eyes, ratifying additional misconduct on his part. how do these corporations and their individual stars get away with this indifference to the plight of the society which supports them?

    • holdingsteady says:

      Thank you, Lara Kelley, I really appreciate and agree with your comment, especially when you state ‘his behavior was exemplary’ and he faced ‘hyenas’, perfect word choice.

      He did give a subtle sound bite in the judiciary committee when Veronica Escobar from Texas tried to get him to say impeachment was a remedy … he wouldn’t use the word but stated that she had used the word previously, i.e. he might as well have said the word impeachment himself.

      I’d love to see an expert on facial expression chime in, to me, Mueller is way smarter than most in the room and was basically rolling his eyes at them…

  48. Trent says:

    Can someone help me out with the distinction of conspiracy with the Russian government and with Russia in general? Mueller’s report specifically mentions no establishment of conspiracy with the government. Is that qualification material and narrow?

    • bmaz says:

      That is a complicated question. There may or may not be a distinction between a foreign government and foreign individuals. It all comes down to knowledge and obtaining something of value under campaign finance law.

      • Trent says:

        Agreed, and the distinction is especially blurred with Putin and pluto/kleptocrats in orbit around him. For instance, sharing detailed polling data with Kilimnick who might not be part of the Russian government in an official capacity he sure as hell is a Russian/Ukrainian with access to Deripaska and Putin.

        • bmaz says:

          Right.But at some point it is just a matter for a jury. It is not a bar to filing a charge from what I can tell.

      • RWood says:

        If the person named has a government title/job is that enough to establish the “government” link, or do you have to go further and prove that they were acting in their capacity of a government employee when they committed said act?

        I see the term “with ties to” the Russian government quite often, but rarely is it explained just what those ties are.

        Granted most think of a government, be it Russian or elsewhere, as being structured similar to what they are used to at home, and not a mob of oligarchs masquerading as one.

      • Vicks says:

        Yes and I believe, team Trump believes there is something in that will help them (or just as likely Putin.)
        Barr made the distinction in his “summary” when clearing people of wrongdoing and it was getting hammed today by I forget who that the troll farm NOT being a government entity of Russia.

      • Trent says:

        Cool. Russian government, Russia linked individuals and Russian contacts seem to be used interchangeably.

        Thanks for painting the bulls-eye on it for me Rayne.

  49. Eureka says:

    I’ve been pretty sure that Nadler would come out for an inquiry today but am worried over this tri-joint presser. I suspect there are hardcore negotiations going on right now with (the) Pelosi/ Jeffries- guard over any declarations. Some people are tweeting to speak to and please Pelosi, not their followers or other audiences right now…

      • Eureka says:

        Not the press conference– it’s not on yet.

        Separately as to what’s causing the delay: good news for *leverage* towards inquiry and what’s going on now on bmaz twitter:

        “Any further questions as to why an impeachment inquiry is needed? House must go to court and demand a special prosecutor.”


        “In a surprise to no one, Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen tells Speaker Pelosi in a new letter that the Justice Department will take no action on the House’s criminal contempt referral over AG Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.”

          • Eureka says:

            Yes! It was for 445.

            Also bad ‘whipping’ news via Manu Raju (besides that Pelosi had Bass in front of the cameras at MSNBC doing quashing work– the content from Bass was worse than this– like how they need to wait for McGahn testimony, which will never happen sans inquiry, so far it seems; all the committees have their separate work- type statements):

            “Pelosi just privately told her members that they need to stay focused – but also indicated that if they need to support an impeachment inquiry, she respects that and must do what’s best for their district, per sources. She said Dems need to move forward in courts”

            “She also indicated that they must have strongest possible case before any impeachment inquiry – in line with what she has said in past. She’ll address media momentarily and we will get a sense on where she stands and if she’s shifted at all”

            • Geoff says:

              I’ll give you the spoiler : we’re screwed. It’s almost impossible to even imagine a scenario where anything that happened today somehow convinced her to do her constitutional duty. And what is the public hearing? Check out Blake on WP, basically feeding Trump’s backstory that it was a disaster for the Democrats. As I said from the outset, grade : counterproductive. I’m more demoralized than ever.

            • Jockobadger says:

              In order to build the “strongest possible case” they need to open an impeachment inquiry. Hurry up already. JHC

            • Eureka says:

              Also, harpie- I put this down here so as not to clutter your inquiry-announcement thread (didn’t want to screw up your organized layout; also it went with the speculation down here).

              Adding: now with this though, maybe it’s better as a side-car up there??:

              Raju thread continued:

              ““She is open to it. She is open to it,” Jackie Speier said of Pelosi, adding that she believes she sounded more open to impeachment than she has previously, per @SunlenSerfaty”
              2:42 PM – 24 Jul 2019

              • Eureka says:

                Pelosi: cites grounds to go forward with inquiry if further obstruction; just prior, restates they are not looking for endless time or endless facts before moving to impeachment.

                • P J Evans says:

                  I dumped another e-mail in her Speaker basket, telling her she’s running out of time to start the hearings. Next year is going to be too late. Heck, October the first is probably going to be too late.

            • Democritus says:

              She is just delaying to delay. They won’t get the facts without the inquiry. She will thirdway us into a ditatorship.

            • Eureka says:

              harpie, if you put (parens) around a youtube link, it will leave the link hot and clickable but not embed the video (I do not know how to make it appear as a smaller video, though).

              ON NOW LIVE

            • Eureka says:

              Plus it’s a good video embed to have here ;)

              Cummings is *bringing it* right now– good thing that he is there and speaking.

              ETA: but he ends with Pelosi’s “committees committee-ing”

  50. Geoff says:

    This Pelosi talk is utter BS. They’ve been stonewalled, yes, and guess what? They will continue to be if they try to go through the courts. We dont have time for this crap. Launch the impeachment and get the power to get the info. If you wait for the courts, you will LOSE, the courts are stacked, and appeals will kill all the time you have, which now, is barely more than a year. OK, OK, if you want to have the strongest case, why not use your strongest tools. The “cone of silence” BS is basically being fostered by the appeals process. And since the judiciary is stacked, especially POTUS, you wont get your strongest case via that path. This is so fricking obvious and somehow, we keep getting this BS argument thrown in our face. And now Schiff, Nadler, and Cummings are standing there giving license to this shit. I’m so fed up. Someone please tell me why we cant do BOTH the court cases AND the impeachment proceeding. Why tie your own hands?

    What they fail to grasp is that people will not pay attention UNTIL impeachment is on the table.

  51. Democritus says:

    Her majesty Queen Bee Soledad, well at least I hereby nominate her as such- plus she has horse threads most weekend, called my out Maggie’s BS framing of Mueller.

    We need some Democrats crowing about today, no matter the objective truth. A bit of showmanship.

    “You don’t think there’s an impact to how you frame stories? You don’t think—as REPORTERS— it matters if you describe something as ‘dull’ or ‘dull but critical’ or “so important that we encourage you to ignore the jargon.” Jesus—we seem to be screwed by our media’s lack of guts.”


    Finally I second the observation Mueller’s hearing is likely going, but that is not abnormal in my exp among those who served on the front lines amongst not just lots of small arm fire, but also artillery, and smaller devices like grenades. I read about his service, and he is a true hero who fought for all the right reasons, country- but also in honor of his friends before he served and his comrades after, its no matter how fucked the war was.

  52. Savage Librarian says:

    Did anybody else see this? I think Mueller had a big (but, maybe, subtle) win against Gohmert this morning. Gohmert was badgering Mueller, accusing him of a conflict of interest because he interviewed with Trump, allegedly for the FBI position. But Mueller calmly and quietly set the record straight.

    Mueller said, yes, he did interview with Trump, but not as a candidate for the position. He was there solely because Trump had asked for input on what qualifications were needed for that position. He was not there as an applicant for the position.

    Gohmert seemed genuinely taken aback by this response. He actually seemed a little embarrassed. And Mueller smiled coyly and almost imperceptibly at this win. That’s what I saw. Did anybody else see that, too?

    • Vicki Greenberg says:

      I didn’t catch that one but now that you mention it, am I the only one that didn’t know Mueller didn’t interview for the FBI gig?
      If that’s the case I wonder if Gomer didn’t know either?
      Now that WOULD be embarrassing!

    • Eureka says:

      LOL SL, Trump(‘s tweeting aides) saw it and freaked out about it. It’s over on the Three Things post, where harpie did a thread collating today’s presidential tantrum.

    • Americana says:

      Yep, that’s what I saw as well. Considering that’s been Trump’s latest addition to what he views as Mueller’s conflicts of interest (Trump golf club membership tiff, distant workplace mate w/Comey, etc.) that should have precluded him (perhaps) from being the Special Counsel. It’s rather perilous for Trump to have asserted that he’d specifically asked Mueller if he’d interview for the FBI Director job if that’s not the case. Aren’t there ways of checking that w/Trump’s secretaries et al? One thing’s for sure, if VP Pence swears Trump’s speaking the truth — that Mueller was there for an interview for FBI Director — there’ll be NO RECOVERY for Pence if Mueller is proven truthful on that matter. That might be a good thing — getting rid of lots of bad eggs all at once.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Oops. My bad. I think I’m actually talking about Greg Steube from Florida. I guess stupid is starting to look all alike to me. Thanks everyone. It’s so good to know all of you are out there!

  53. dwfreeman says:

    House Pelosi has abdicated authority — on anything. This is it. Game over. Are you kidding me, what is the point? WTF is the goddamn point?

  54. Jockobadger says:

    Jed Shugerman’s bit in Politico this aft is good. He’s right on I think. His breakdown of Ted Lieu’s question (and answer) is great.

    • Eureka says:

      Haven’t seen it yet, but Jed Shugerman’s generally got very sensible things to say, a reliable voice of reason. Thanks for the tip, JB.

  55. Jenny says:

    For me the hearing was beneficial because the report gave the words a voice.
    A voice of validation. Mueller showed up having received a subpoena. He honored the process unlike others from the administration. He wasn’t happy to be there; however he testified his way, measured, calm and collected.

    Mueller looked tired in the first round and a bit unsure; however he was stronger the second half. He was not there to take sides, just state the facts from his investigation. He confirmed his findings after 2 years of inquiry. He wasn’t there to rock the boat, the boat has already been rocked.

    Mueller’s exchange with Maloney (why he didn’t subpoena Trump) and Demings (questioning the “outright liars”) about Trumps written statements, insightful in how that unfolded.

    The Democrats where prepared and calm. The Republicans agitated, an angry pack.
    Fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

    Okay, so Mueller testified for 6 hours and Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours. Why?
    Different topic?

    Thanks to Marcy, EW staff and all the individuals who participated today. I appreciate a place/space to communicate, share and vent, even if we agree or not.

  56. Mongoose says:

    Mueller presented a dramatically different persona in the afternoon, indicating that someone got to him over the lunch break. It is possible that Barr called to bark further instructions and pissed off Mueller, in particular inspiring him to be more forthcoming in the area of Russian meddling. It is no coincidence that McConnell and Trump (and Barr in the background) are now trying to block any bill dealing with potential Russian meddling in 2020.

  57. Blueride27 says:

    The media’s narrative on this is disturbing. Everything from It did nothing for the Democrats , to this is the end of any more impeachment talk from this day forward.
    I completely disagree.. What did the Republicans gain from this? Every sound bite I hear from the republicans camp is some hack yelling at Bob Mueller about some conspiracy theory. Never really asking any real questions. The Democrats seemed much more prepared and collected.
    Also overheard in my local supermarket. An older lady , probably in her 50’s. Say she doesn’t believe in impeachment. That “only God can judge the president”. I reeeallly wanted to ask her if she was confused with a popular hip hop artist from the 90’s.

    • P J Evans says:

      She’s probably hearing that from her pastor – or whoever she watches on TV. That’s fundie political theory, right there, the kind that claims the US was founded as a “Christian nation”.

      • Blueride27 says:

        It’s a shame. I live in a very small town, and these people are my neighbors. I haven’t the slightest clue what to say to someone in order for them to break through the fog. My own mother flat out refuses to talk politics with me after I found out she was “team” Trump. She was genuinely surprised in how upset I was about this.

        • e.a.f. says:

          Some of our friends in Canada thought trump was pretty funny and O.K. I simply sat down and explained what he said about people coming from Mexico and then said Hitler had said about the same thing about Jews and Gypsies and I took exception to it, given our Grandfather was the only surviving member of his family. If do find that usually stops a lot of people in their tracks, at least in Canada.

        • P J Evans says:

          There are some family members I don’t talk politics with – but they’re not ones I talk much with, and we can avoid politics. The ones I do talk politics with are definitely not team Tr*mp. (I think my most-senior-aunt was *at least* as far left as my brother, meaning closer to socialist than anything else. She died before the election in 2016.)

        • Vicks says:

          Mr/Ms Blueride
          Sorry bud, I feel some of your pain. My entire family is all in for Trump but I moved out the day I graduated high school and have continued to distance myself ever since.
          It helps if you can figure out what it is they are getting out of their deal with the devil. It won’t help you change their minds but it could help you find some peace and perhaps stop telling yourself you have the power or ability to do so.
          Trump has made particular groups of people feel empowered (or wealthier) and if you use the analogy of the “devil” you can see “him” when their eyes light up or in the tone in their voice when they go into their completely nonsensical defense, praise and justification of DJT. These people you have known forever really do, seem possessed.
          I don’t believe in the devil, however I absolutely believe that “power corrupts” and THAT is what we are witnessing with our family and neighbors.
          For some people it’s the white nationalist bull shit, for others Trump was sent here by god to protect them from democrats intent on destroying life as they know it, others just like the warm and fuzzy feeling of hating in a group instead of by themselves, but mostly they are scared that whatever slice of power they have been clinging to will be taken away because of increasing competition of minorities and women.
          Anger is the easiest emotion to access and what Trump has given all of them a target for that fear and anger, someone to blame for life’s unfairness, in dictator-speak, a common enemy to rally around.
          That’s powerful shit for those who have never experienced self-empowerment and if they have to look the other way while Trump locks up children, terrorizes people on Twitter or robs the country’s future by funneling money and weapons to those that help him to stay in office, so be it.
          Thanks to the MAGA machine your friends and family are getting all the tools and support they need to spin crap into gold keep and help Trump build power
          The upside?
          I think Trump has tapped that market. It’s on us to wake up the rest.

          • Blueride27 says:

            I wanted to thank you for your kind and insightful words.
            My mother went to college late in life to become an RN. She worked hard to raise me and my brother and go to school at the same time.
            Now she works in a retirement home with rotating shifts and long hours.
            She will admit to me that our medical system is broken. I bring up the fact that voting the way she does is hurting our future. It doesn’t matter to her that her one son is on goverment assistance because of schizophrenia diagnosis Or, if the pre existing conditions clause is ever dropped, I’ll probably never get affordable coverage.

            • Vicks says:

              Small world.
              My mom became a single mom at 35 or so became an LPN and went to work for the first time when I was around 13. It was tough on her and I will always be grateful.
              She gets 1500 a month in social security to show for all that.
              She lives on the N.C. coast and will be moving into a rental property I bought a couple of blocks from my home here and I will be picking up the rest of her expenses.
              MY brother ex-military (20 years) and getting too old for the multiple neck down jobs he has busted his ass to get and keep over the years and his wife who has been on some form of disability since I have known her, called me the day before yesterday to “borrow” 2k for a car repair.
              Thanks goodness for my 401k
              God bless Donald Trump right?

              • bmaz says:

                It is a small world, isn’t it? My father died also when I was very young. Like very young. My mother had been a world class chemical engineer for major corporations and military, but gave all that up to become a teacher, so she could have the same hours and summer vacation as me. And so we did.

                But in her last years, when she could no longer teach, which she grew to really love, if left to the devices of the “social safety net”, she would have been in trouble and a sad place. Thankfully I was doing well by then and could cover. But seeing how the system, which worked better then in the mid to late 90’s than it does now, worked was eye opening and saddening. I cannot imagine how that goes now.

                • Vicks says:

                  The key to a being successful republican leader is to never EVER allow your people to listen to stories like these.
                  They may just figure out that our government has the ability, and maybe even the responsibility to re-shuffle priorities to help people who have worked their entire lives and have nothing to show for it.
                  Then what?

  58. Lara Kelley says:

    As I am apparently literally losing sleep over this, I would like to ask generally – ever since this investigation began, there has been some kind of hope that Mueller would deliver Trump’s head on a silver platter. His reputation in the media has grown to almost grotesque proportions, as though he is the savior of democracy (as it is understood in the United States), that he is arbiter of truth and justice holding a flaming sword of investigative righteousness. I don’t understand what people thought he would say, how people thought he would sway the needle (of Congress, of public opinion, something) with his testimony. He was told to do a job, with certain boundaries and certain procedural constraints. Whether or not those procedural constraints are in and of themselves fair (cannot indict a sitting president, etc) is another fight. Mueller followed the rule of law. He did the job. He did the job and no one seems to really like the results – it doesn’t say everything that Democrats or Republicans want it to say. But now that the results are in, it’s the responsibility of Congress to hold up their end of the Constitution, listen to their constituents, and make some fucking decisions.

    I am now kind of wondering if I have been living in an alternate universe, because I thought this was the point all along. Mueller held his investigation and its results to a strict legal standard. There have been trials and convictions centered around many key players. He delivered the results of his office’s mandate to the DOJ and it was subsequently released to Congress. It is now Congress’ job to go into uncharted and inherently political waters and figure this shit out – they are literally the lawmakers of the land. They are supposed to represent the people and the people’s interests. You can talk all the case law that you want, but this situation is unprecedented in so many aspects, they really have little choice but to write much of their own script. Why was it that in this scenario, where there is no smoking gun silver bullet easy answer, Mueller’s was expected today to testify and do Congress’ work for them?

    Personally, did I hope for a cut and dry answer from the investigation? Yes. Did I think we would get one? No. Why? Because Russia. Really, I think it’s that simple. Putin is smart. He was in the KGB for sixteen years and has been in power since 2000, despite the fact that the Russian Federation is technically a democracy. They even have their own version of Congress, the Duma. Everyone knew the power behind Medvedev’s presidency was the Prime Minister, Putin. To put things in further context, Putin was born a year before Stalin died. His parents lived through the Great Purges (the NKVD makes the KGB look nice), his formative years were under Khruschev – he was 10 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was 22 during the Nixon impeachment proceedings, and a year later joined the KGB. There was no fucking way we would get a straight answer regarding Russia. If anything, I’m surprised at how much the Special Counsel’s Office did manage to uncover. Putin played DT & Co. magnificently. If I didn’t hate his systemic destruction of democracy so much, I might say I admire him. Honestly, the fact that Putin was so concerned about Hillary that he spent two years and millions of dollars coming up with and executing a strategy to weaken her campaign (they didn’t think Trump would actually beat her) tells me a lot about how savvy and formidable Hillary would have been as president.

    I went off on a huge tangent there. My point being.. something. I’m losing steam. And I’m tired.

    tl;dr – why did people believe Mueller would say, or had a secret verdict and responsibility to say, some magic words that would apparently save democracy?

    Not sure I really expect a response at this point, but I had to get it off my chest. So there it is.

    • Democritus says:

      If you need to recharge before you run out of steam completely, and agree that it was never going to be as easy as I’d , at least, hoped.

      But we can still fix this, though it will take work and courage from a lot of different segments of American society. There is just so much corruption, i mean it really is just a HUGE natsec risk, though it’s hard not to get down at times.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Seems few are willing to admit (even to themselves) how close we are standing to the edge of the cliff. “How Democracies Die” spells out how elected democratic governments are taken apart. It is happening here right in front of our eyes.

      It appears the end goal is a Western version of Russian oligarchy. The object of a Republican getting elected in the U.S. is no longer to serve constituents but to become a billionaire.

  59. e.a.f. says:

    Nunes was just weird. watched his “speak”. Omg he must have been doing an audition for trump. did he go off of his meds or something? Did he expect people to believe him

    Jim Jordon always and looks and sounds like white trash. who was promoted to shift foreman. Nunes, always sounds like a dozen golf balls hit him in the same spot at the club and then he fell into the pond and stayed under too long.

    Glad I watched the it. People don’t read much any more and to have the question and answer thing really made it hit home. To hear Mueller say yes, etc. it still was shocking to me, even though I’ve followed it all quite closely and know what is going on and expected certain questions from the Democrats.

  60. Jockobadger says:

    I watched Herr Nunes too and he seemed more like a shell-shocked shlub to me – almost like he was on some new med. Zombie-like. Too bad he’s so dangerous.

    We need to hold Nancy’s feet to the fire to the max extent possible and pray she blinks or that someone gets to her soon. Thanks all.

  61. Blueride27 says:

    Isn’t Nunes up for a promotion yet? Either a parallel move directly to faux news, or a bump into Trump’s cabinet ?

  62. Geoff says:

    Well, NYT is running this at the top of the page:

    “Trump Impeachment Is Far Less Likely After Mueller Testimony” — (not the headline of the article, of course, they just want to make sure none of their readers get any funny ideas like, um. thinking for themselves.)

    You can pretty much see that what I said at the outset is correct. This whole kabuki charade was counterproductive. How many congresspeople changed their minds? 1? 2? Basically useless on that front, and Pelosi continues to shut the whole thing down, banking on public opinion that the media is effectively squashing by turning this into some kind of celebrity reality show with a failed star that lacked charisma. You can pretty much count on the media to write their own narrative, and TPTB seem to be just fine with how things are going. I guess now the NYTs going full blown gaslighting of the public along with Trump. Heck, maybe NYT will come out and endorse him in 2020.


    Time to cancel my subscription.

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s really interesting to see how many people are giving up completely because Mueller didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear.

      • Geoff says:

        WTF were they expecting??? He already told them he wasnt going to say anything outside of the report, and he wasnt going to read from it!! What does that leave people expecting would happen aside from what did…Democrats, putting his own words in his mouth, then Mueller saying, agreed. That was the best we could hope for. I mean, look, Marcy put all those great questions together. Did you hear anything like that coming out? No, the Democrats didnt give a shit about digging into things it might be interesting to know. They just wanted to do a little song and dance, then come to their pre-determined conclusion that it didnt make any difference.

        Personally, Im not giving up. I am going to keep telling people how it is. I am going to keep pushing for this grifter to be held accountable. But I am giving up on the BS media circus, the bought and sold mouthpiece for corporate interests in maintaining the status quo.

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