Saturday, July 27, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 30

This week, much of the focus will be on the second round of Democrat Presidential debates occurring on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, but this week, must of the focus was on Capitol Hill when now former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller "testified"  before two Democrat-controlled U.S. House Committees on one morning.

I said a few weeks back that the  Mueller Report, once actually released, was far worse for Donald Trump than most had realized and that Mueller's statement to the cameras was pretty telling and a big favor to Democrats. At that time, Mueller made it clear that he felt no need to testify before Congress and that absolutely anything he had to say or would have to say was written on paper in the lengthy report.

In essence, Mueller was telling Congress, without saying the words, that it was their responsibility to impeach Donald Trump at this point. The Democrat majority in Congress has been very divided on that though, not because any of them really think Trump is innocent of wrong-doing, but due to fears of political ramifications. Still, many on the left have been pushing to get Mueller on camera, under oath, trying to get him to somehow say something that would somehow cause Americans to finally, after all these months, start paying attention to the Russian interference story or say something that will be embracing for Trump. Republicans in Congress, doing Trump's billing, wanted to muck up the waters surrounding all of this and cast doubts on the Mueller investigation, it's origins, and the motivation of the people who conducted it.

Robert S. Muller III is a genuine American war hero and someone who has served his country in government with the highest degree of integrity for years. It is a shame he was forced to testify and see his reputation suffer. It was painfully obvious that at 74 years old, Mueller is starting to slow down a bit, at least physically. His performance was not rated as a strong one and the person once looked up as by the enemies of Trump as a potential folk hero (and as someone to fear by the supporters of Trump), came across as bumbling and befuddled during his time before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

I do not think that Mueller should get blasted too much for this and I am unwilling to buy into any theory that he is somehow mentally incapacitated. Of course, we are now seeing the predictable, ridiculous conspiracy theories from both the right and the left stating that Mueller had to have been a figurehead all along who did not actually lead the investigation to allegations that someone  must have "gotten" to him to make him change his testimony.

However, his testimony did not change and as promised, he did not say anything that was not in the report. He did not come across as authoritative on television, but the deck was stacked against him. He has never been a politician and was faced with politicians on both sides of the rostrum who really did not care as much what Mueller said but about their own television soundbites via their questioning. Mueller simply wanted them to speak slowly enough and clearly point out the pages of the report so he could confirm if the information they said was accurate. None of this exactly would have made for riveting television.

Mueller may have seemed uncomfortable with the circus atmosphere of all this, but he did what he said he would do, and answered questions precisely and strictly in accordance with what the report stated. Thus, he confirmed that Donald Trump was not cleared of obstruction on justice, nor was the evidence strong enough to state affirmatively that he colluded with Russia. There was some confusion over whether Mueller had said that Trump would have been indicted had he not been President. The Democrats did get Mueller saying as much in the first hearing, but he retracted it in a statement during the second hearing. Neither side got exactly what they wanted from the hearing, but Republicans were certainly more happy than Democrats to see Mueller "discredited", Democrats embarrassed, and with the conventional wisdom that impeachment was "over."I was not expecting any sort of fireworks from this event, but cannot help feel sort of sorry for Robert Mueller, in what will probably be his last time personally in the public spotlight. There is talk that Republicans had been aware for a while that Mueller was starting to show signs of age and thus were more than willing to have him testify.

Of course Donald Trump has once again claimed "total vindication" (despite what is crystal clear in the report) and has now moved on again to attacking African-American Congressmembers on Twitter for being from "infested" places. Curiously enough, even more House Democrats are now coming out in favor of impeachment proceedings (clearly they were waiting to do so all along anyway), and there were some surprise GOP House retirements for whatever reason.

Next weekend, the discussion will likely all be about the debates. The only lineup change is that Eric Swalwell (who is out of the race) is out and Steve Bullock is in. (Not appearing in the debate once again will be Mike Gravel, but I might have erroneously claimed he was out of the race, when for now, he may still be in it, although he claims he is not lifting a finger and that two teenagers are doing everything for him.)

The lineups for the debate are set. CNN broadcasted "The Draw" live in what was truly an unprecedented (and pretty boring) television event. Night one will feature Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on stage together (along with a group of others who somehow are considered the most "moderate" in the race. On the second night, it will be a rematch of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (with eight others standing by.) Biden is promising not to be as "polite" this time. We will see what that all means.  Also-rans Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang are sarcastically promising to attach each other in the debate. They would not have made this write-up or many others if not for that.

All the focus on performance of Mueller this past week though, in which he looked a little slower in some ways that what might have been expected, could have a continuing narrative in these debates. While nobody has ever really accused the fast-talking 77 year old Bernie Sanders of showing signs of mental decline, there has been a whole lot of talk in that regard regarding the 76 year old Joe Biden, whom even after a shaky first debate, is still the front-runner nationally.


At 7:49 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey: Trump wins reelection & Dems will NEVER win back the Presidency anytime soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home