Are Chuck Todd And Maggie Haberman Gaslighting You About The Mueller Hearings? Click Here To Tell Them To F*ck Off!
Let's get one thing out of the way right now. A lot of the Robert Mueller testimony was boring, especially in the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller seemed old (he turns 75 in two weeks) and, true to what he said he was going to do, he declined to answer a lot of questions, staying within "the four corners of his report" and letting it "speak for itself." And with that, we have acknowledged and given the proper respect to every VALID right-wing criticism (and too-cool-for-school leftist criticism) that exists. It did not send the thrill up the leg, and in our American culture, which demands shiny things in order to keep its attention, it fell kinda flat.
(This column will not be addressing invalid criticisms, like those from Dinesh D'Souza, trying to pretend he is the cool kid who knows all the things, and scoffing with judgment that Robert Mueller had never heard of
the clowns that live in Dinesh's butthole Fusion GPS, like everybody is talking about the clowns who live in Dinesh's butthole Fusion GPS, what's wrong with Robert Mueller OMG?)
Beltway journalists (some of them, at least) were also so booooooooored, like are we there yet?
Maggie Haberman also paid for a laser light show, but all she got was an extremely grave and important moment in American history:
Of course, because Haberman is Haberman, she has spent the ensuing time on Twitter getting mad at civilians who somehow think reporters have the ability to shape the news, as if Americans came up with the idea to obsess over Hillary Clinton's Hotmail account all by their lonesome.
Are you hearing all this stuff and giving in to an inclination to agree that yesterday was just terrible and the Democrats are terrible and Robert Mueller was the worst and now you'll never get your pony?
As former DOJ official Chuck Rosenberg said on MSNBC not long after the Judiciary Committee hearing, "There's a difference between exciting and important. There are things that are exciting that are not important, and there are things that are important that are not particularly exciting." Yesterday's hearings were important. And if you slogged through all of it -- even the boring parts -- some really crucial things came out, some of them for the first time.
We can start with Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler's opening five minutes, which really covered most of the ground that the hearing on obstruction of justice needed to cover. In rapid fire questioning, Nadler had Mueller confirm that Donald Trump and his minions are lying every single time they say the investigation found NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION and TOTAL EXONERATION. Mueller also added a new phrase to the lexicon: "Does Not Exculpate."
Nadler also had Mueller confirm that Donald Trump can absolutely be prosecuted for his crimes after he is dropkicked out of office, though it didn't really resonate at that point, because we guess half of America hadn't had its coffee yet. It was under questioning from GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, where Buck seemed just FLABBERGASTED at that notion, and asked Mueller to repeat himself. Did you really just say our shithole garbage king could be LOCK HER UP-PED after he has been de-throned?
Yes, GOP congressman, Robert Mueller said that.
Another illuminating moment -- especially for people who might not have read the report -- was when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries laid out the necessary elements of obstruction of justice -- the obstructive act, nexus to an official proceeding, and corrupt intent -- and argued for why Trump's conduct satisfied those elements, specifically as it pertains to Trump's attempts to manipulate former White House counsel Don McGahn into firing Mueller for him, and asking McGahn to later lie about Trump asking him to fire Mueller. At the end, Mueller said he doesn't necessarily agree with Jeffries's analysis, but said it wasn't "out of the ballpark." In other words, he's not saying Jeffries is wrong, but he's not saying he's not wrong either.
But to be totally honest, if one hearing, overall, was more boring than the other one, it was the House Judiciary Committee. If you were looking for RAZZAMATAZZ, the hearing with the House Intelligence Committee in the afternoon had a bit more of it, but we are sorry, there were no dancing booby ladies or comedic men in bear suits, so if that's what you're after, stop trying to analyze politics and go to the fucking goddamn circus.
Let's go directly to the tape of Adam Schiff, who opened and closed the ceremonies with fire and rage, using phrases like "disloyalty to country," which turned out to be the general theme of the hearing, which focused on the Trump campaign's embrace of illegal Russian assistance in 2016. When Schiff began his questioning, like Nadler, he got Mueller on the record about some simple facts: Russia wanted Trump to win, worked to make that happen, and the Trump campaign knew it was happening, and then they lied and tried to cover it up.
Schiff also had Mueller confirm that Trump people used the campaign to grift: Paul Manafort was trying to get back in Putin's favorite oligarch's good graces; Michael Flynn was working as a secret actual literal foreign agent for Turkey; and Trump was trying to make millions of Ameros doing a secret hotel deal in Moscow, and lying to the American people about as it was being negotiated.
SCHIFF: When Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false, was it not?
MUELLER: I'd like to think so, yes. [...]
SCHIFF: When the president said the Russian interference was a hoax, that was false, wasn't it?
Suck on that, Mister President.
The House Intelligence Committee covered a lot of ground. There was much analysis of Paul Manafort giving his Russian spy friend secret Trump campaign Rust Belt polling data to pass along to his old boss Oleg Deripaska, who was doing God Knows What with it, but we're pretty sure it made its way to the Internet Research Agency troll farm conducting the online influence ops for Putin that helped Trump win Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as Rep. Jackie Speier suggested last night on MSNBC, and as Wonkette suggested earlier this week.
A particularly good discussion of that happened between Mueller and Rep. Andre Carson:
There was Rep. Mike Quigley, who questioned Mueller about WikiLeaks, prompting Mueller to agree with past statements from Mike Pompeo that WikiLeaks is a "hostile intelligence service." Quigley then read a million quotes of Donald Trump jizzing himself with joy over WikiLeaks and asked for Mueller's reaction: "Problematic is an understatement." Mueller then basically called Trump's embrace of WikiLeaks giving aid and comfort to an enemy.
Will Hurd (A REPUBLICAN!) actually seemed to give a shit about what Russia did in 2016, and what they're doing right now, but we are guessing that is because Hurd is DEEP STATE. In their discussion, Mueller told Hurd and America that Russia not only would be back, but already is back: "They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign."
And who can forget, in one of the simplest and most powerful moments of the entire day, when Rep. Val Demings had Mueller confirm that when Trump submitted his answers to the take-home test Mueller gave him on his Russian ties (Trump refused to answer questions on obstruction), he failed to answer many of them, and that on others, he "generally" flat out lied, which is a crime. You know, just "generally."
At the end, Adam Schiff closed the hearing in a way that reminded us of his famous "You may think it's OK" speech. For the sake of time, we'll borrow some words from Kurt Bardella over at NBC News, who watched the same hearings we watched, which are apparently different from the ones Chuck Todd watched. (Just kidding, Chuck Todd watched the same hearings, he's just a fucking moron who's extremely bad at his job.)
Watch this entire exchange:
Schiff asked if "knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do?" To which Mueller added, "And a crime."
AND A CRIME. Mueller really wanted to add there, "AND A CRIME."
Schiff then replied, "Can we also agree it's also unpatriotic and wrong?" Mueller agreed. Returning to the report, Schiff stated, "Your report describes a sweeping and systemic effort by Russia to influence our presidential election." Mueller noted that this description was "correct." Then Schiff followed up again: "During the course of this Russian interference, the Russians made outreach to the Trump campaign?" Mueller's response: "That occurred."
Also in that exchange, Mueller stated for the record that it is not only unethical and unpatriotic to do the things Trump and his campaign did, but that those behaviors also open people up to blackmail and extortion and compromise by hostile foreign powers, like for instance RUSSIA, IF YOU'RE LISTENING.
Oh yeah, did we mention that Mueller confirmed that the FBI is still investigating aspects of blackmail and compromise as it pertains to Trump and his associates? Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi got that out of him. He also got Mueller to confirm that he really did not see it as his job to investigate Trump's financial ties to Russia, or whether Russians used Trump to launder money or anything like that.
File that one in your memory for every single time Trump or some GOP fuckmouth tries to say the Democrats in Congress are doing a "do-over" right now. They are decidedly not.
WATCH: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi's full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony www.youtube.com
As you can see, a lot of things happened in yesterday's hearings, if you bothered to actually watch them. And as we move forward, there are many avenues left to explore, as we travel toward the inevitable end of the path we are on, which is impeachment. (More on that later today.)
A few mainstream beltway pundits seem to have watched the same hearing we watched:
We're sorry Chuck Todd and Maggie Haberman were bored.
Maybe next time Robert Mueller can wear a funny outfit! Or, you know, maybe Chuck Todd and Maggie Haberman can go fuck themselves.
Yeah. That last thing. That's what they can do.
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