Robert Mueller came before Congress on Wednesday as the man appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. Democrats expected the former FBI director to rally the nation in favor of impeachment, but their expectations were not to be met.
Mueller refused to shed new light on the situation that would have been outside of the 448 page report his office released in April.
“I direct you to the report,” became Mueller’s mantra for the day.
He pushed back against the president only to call out some of Trump’s most blatant mischaracterizations. The report doesn’t exonerate the president. The investigation was not a witch hunt. And, no, Russia’s interference in the election to benefit Trump was not a hoax.
If Mueller displayed any passion, it was to warn the country over continued efforts by a foreign adversary to undermine America’s democracy: “They’re doing it as we sit here.”
But Mueller provided no new weaponry to Democrats trying to establish that Trump committed crimes. He reiterated that he didn’t find enough evidence to prove any criminal conspiracy between Russians and the Trump campaign.
When it came to such fundamental questions as whether Trump broke the law, Mueller used a confusing double negative: “The finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.”
Mueller, who turns 75 next month, no doubt came across as confused at times. But in the end, his devotion to professional reticence as a prosecutor carried the day. Mueller made it clear in his May 29 statement that he wouldn’t stray beyond the report’s contents.
Mueller could have assisted the House of Representatives on deciding whether to launch impeachment proceedings. But he simply wouldn’t go there, leaving the Democrats who control the House confused about where to go from here.
What do you think about Mueller’s report and the Democratic expectations?