The hearings with Mr. Mueller yesterday were about getting the findings in the Report out to a broader audience, by using video. The sad fact is that a great majority of Americans have not read the Report, much less the helpful executive summaries of the two sections of the Report, and unless the findings made their way to a TV, many citizens would remain in the dark.
Honestly, I have no idea why anyone thought that the hearing would be “explosive.” If you’ve read the Report, nothing said yesterday was new. (Well, aside from the weird, ineffective shenanigans the Republicans were pulling.) Mr. Mueller’s sole press conference made it clear that 1) he is a man who is very measured and will not stray from the Report, and 2) he did not want to be in the middle of a political football game.
I’m deeply disappointed that so many media outlets and pundits are focusing on HOW Mr. Mueller presented instead of WHAT he said. With that, I give you the video clips of what I thought were the key moments in the hearings.
Morning Session – Obstruction of Justice
The morning hearing started off in the House Judiciary Committee. There, they discussion focused primarily on the section of the Report that dealt with Trump’s obstruction of justice. Right off the bat, Chairman Nadler asked Mr. Mueller if his Report completely exonerated the President, as the President has tried to claim.
Mr. Mueller made clear that the DOJ policy was written such that he was not allowed to determine if Trump obstructed justice because he is currently president. The question was asked, could he be charged AFTER he leaves office? (The question came from a Republican who, I’m guessing, immediately regretted his question when Mr. Mueller answered.) Here’s how he answered:
If you’re wondering what the Republicans were doing during the morning hearing, well, here’s what I wrote about that:
Afternoon Session – Russian Interference
The afternoon hearing was in the House Intelligence Committee and primarily dealt with the section of the Report dealing with Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. Although Mr. Mueller said this particular bit at his opening statement earlier in the day, I’m putting it here for clarity.
Mr. Mueller was asked about Trump praising Wikileaks during the course of the 2016 campaign. He did not mince words:
Rep. Adam Schiff had the final comments in the afternoon hearing. His interaction with Mr. Mueller touches on just how low the bar is for Trump and how that just shouldn’t be the case with the President of the United States.
Rachel Maddow made a great point on her show last night, which was to point out how incredibly important open hearings like these are to the national conversation. We all need to be working from the same set of facts.
So what now?
My site wouldn’t be this site unless we discussed what should happen now. First of all, I’d recommend that we all start talking. Ask friends, family, and whomever what they thought about the hearings. Let them know what your takeaways were. Maybe they’re similar, maybe they’re not. We have to get the conversation going, especially with those who maybe only just started paying attention.
And secondly, you need to call your U.S. Representative in the House. (Get their contact info HERE.) Is there action you want them to take based on what you heard yesterday? They can’t read your mind; you need to tell them. Act now.