Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Democrat Disaster: Mueller’s testimony equals end of any Trump impeachment talk

By Michael Goodwin | New York Post

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Getty Images

Among his talents, Donald Trump has a special gift for driving his detractors so crazy that they do really stupid stuff. 

The decision by Democrats to force Robert Mueller to testify before Congress is Exhibit A.

Bumblin’ Bob was a train wreck of epic proportions. The fallout is immediate, starting with this: impeachment is no longer an option.
It had a slim chance before Wednesday’s painful slog and no chance after it.

Mueller was that bad, seemingly hard of hearing, often confused and contradicted himself several times.

The Dems’ fantasy of having him breathe life into his report backfired.

His dismal performance killed any possibility that his 450-page tome could serve as a road map for overturning the 2016 election and driving Trump from office.

Although Mueller’s general demeanor was disturbing, it was also instructive. He did not project the mental and physical vigor of someone capable of leading the complex two-year probe into Russian meddling, possible Trump collusion and obstruction of justice.

More likely, the 74-year old former FBI director was something of a figure-head for an investigation that was carried out by the team of zealots he ­assembled.

That is not an incidental issue. As Andy McCarthy at National Review has written, and as Trump has repeatedly charged, the prosecutors were ­primarily people who had donated to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats or who otherwise made known their support for her.

Perhaps Mueller’s detachment explains his failure to remedy these obvious conflicts of interest that undercut his credibility from the moment they became known.

Oddly, Mueller removed agent Peter Strzok because his bias against Trump became public, but apparently had no concerns about public reports showing that chief prosecutor Andrew ­Weissman and others were in Clinton’s camp.

Mueller’s detachment may also explain the bizarre standard his team created, where Trump’s presumption of innocence was shredded because they could not find sufficient evidence to “exonerate” him.

Several Republicans pointed out that prosecutors either file charges or don’t, but have never imposed the impossible standard of exoneration.

Those flaws are among many that undercut the report, including the fact that much of it reads as if it were written by Trump-hating reporters from The New York Times.

As one GOP member noted, the report cites nearly 200 articles and broadcasts, giving the impression that the media set the probers’ agenda. At the very least, Mueller’s team and the media were joined at the hip from the get-go.

Because of its pro-Clinton bias, the probe was the evil twin of the initial FBI investigation it inherited. Recall that the crooked James Comey relied heavily on the infamous Steele dossier, which Clinton’s team funded.

So from start to finish, Trump was targeted by partisan law enforcement officials who had no business being on the case. And yet, despite a probe that ran a combined three years, involved hundreds of witnesses, thousands of subpoenas and surveillance on Trump associates and maybe the president himself, investigators could find nothing — nothing! — worthy of a criminal charge.

That can only help the president in his re-election campaign. While there is a long way to go, the cloud of possible impeachment, which existed since Mueller was appointed, finally has been lifted.

There are two other major developments growing out of the hearing.

First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now has the responsibility to get her party back to its job of governing. She gave the impeachment caucus and its fanatical leaders, Reps. Jerry ­Nadler and Adam Schiff, time to gin up public support, but they have gotten nowhere because the facts were not as they promised.

If Pelosi is as smart and practical as her supporters say, she will make it clear that the hearing was the end of the Mueller era. If, on the other hand, she hesitates and lets the wing nuts chase their fantasies, she will recklessly waste the next year and increase the chances the GOP will retake the House in 2020.

The other development is that Washington’s focus now shifts to the two investigations into the investigators. The first to drop will be the review of the surveillance warrants obtained against Carter Page, which is being carried out by the Inspector General in the Justice Department.

The chief questions center on what Comey and others told the secret court’s judges about the Steele Dossier. Did they disclose it was paid for by Democrats?

Did they concede that Steele said he was motivated to make sure Trump did not become president? And did the judges know the allegations were unverified before granting four warrants?

The ultimate probe, though, is the one Attorney General Bill Barr launched. He said he was appalled at FBI bias against Trump and that he wants to get his hands around the origins and scope of the initial scrutiny.

“The use of foreign-intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed,” Barr told CBS in May.

He also warned of the dangers of weaponizing law enforcement against political opponents, saying “the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him” is a real threat to our nation.

There is no known deadline for Barr’s report, but my guess is that he will work relatively fast, certainly faster than the special counsel. And because Mueller’s day in the spotlight turned out to be a dud, Barr’s findings have the potential to be the real bombshell.


Congressman Ratcliffe Rips Mueller For Making Up a Bogus Standard of Guilt for President Trump

By Katie Pavlich |

Congressman John Ratcliffe - Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday morning, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee about his 448-page report. It was released to the public in April after a two-year-long investigation.

Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe didn't waste any time with his brief, five minute questioning period and ripped Mueller for making up a standard of guilt only applicable to President Trump.

"Now your report, and today you said that, 'All times the Special Counsel team operated under, was guided by, and followed Justice Department policies and principles,' so which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined?" Ratcliffe said.

"Which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? Where does that language come from, director? Where is the DOJ policy that says that? Let me make it easier, can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?" he continued.

"I cannot but this is a unique situation," Mueller responded.

"Ok, well you can’t—time is short, I’ve got five minutes—let’s just leave it at you can’t find it because I’ll tell you why: it doesn’t exist. The Special Counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the Special Counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the Special Counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinions, it’s not in the Justice manual, and it’s not in the principles of federal prosecution," Ratcliffe continued. 

"Nowhere do those words appear together because, respectfully, respectfully director, it was not the Special Counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him, because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone, everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it."


Michael Moore Blasts Mueller: All those Liberal Pundits Who Told Dems To Have Faith In Him Can 'STFU'

By Matt Vespa |

Special Counsel Robert Mueller - Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It was not a good day for the pro-Trump impeachment Democrats

There was no re-ignition of that fire aimed at booting the president solely based on the fact that he won the 2016 election. 

Ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller had a double-header of hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. 

He refused to answer close to 200 questions, even those within his purview. 

He totally avoided any question on the Trump dossier compiled by ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele, which set off this whole Russian collusion myth.

That document was funded by the Clinton campaign after they contracted the research firm Fusion GPS. This group then hired Steele. 

The irony is that the Mueller report nuked the Trump dossier, which was already largely unverified. Mueller claimed to not be familiar with the firm, which is just too good to be true. You didn’t know? Who are you kidding, man? 

Often times, Mueller appeared frail, aloof, and unable to hear. He asked congressional Democrats and Republicans to repeat their questions multiple times and the answers he did offer really didn’t highlight much or add anything that what we already know. If anything, it appears the Mueller didn’t read or write his report. 

And some of the explanations, were, well trash. They didn’t make sense.

Here’s Jerry Dunleavy and Caitlin Yilek of The Washington Examiner dissecting Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s (R-OH) question concerning whether the Trump campaign was involved in stealing Hillary campaign emails:

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a Republican from Ohio, asked Mueller whether it was “accurate to say that your investigation found no evidence that members of the Trump campaign were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related emails?”

Mueller first paused and then asked Wenstrup to repeat the question, which the congressman did.

Mueller paused again, and then answered, “I don’t know, uh, uh, well — ”
Wenstrup got specific, quoting from Mueller's report. “On page five, it says your report ‘did not establish that any members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’ So therefore it would be inaccurate, based on this, to describe that finding as open to doubt, that finding being that the Trump campaign was involved in the theft or publication of the Clinton campaign emails," he said
“Are you following that, sir?” Wenstrup asked.

“I do believe I am following it,” Mueller replied. “But it is, um, that portion of that matter does not fall within our jurisdiction, or fall within our investigation.”

But this statement from Mueller seems to contradict the very basis for his appointment as special counsel, since he was specifically selected to investigate Russian election interference efforts — which, in his own report, he concludes involved the Russian intelligence’s hacking of Democratic emails and their provision of those emails to Wikileaks to publish — and to what extent, if any, the Trump campaign was involved in those efforts.

Die-hard liberals like Michael Moore reacted more intensely. He had an ‘I told you so’ moment, telling those pundits who said to put faith in Mueller to “STFU.” 

I think you can fill in the blanks there. Laurence Tribe, a liberal lawyer, even admitted that today’s hearings were a disaster for Democrats. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, the network’s legal analyst, also conceded that Trump won the day. 

Who knew Wednesdays could be so good. 


What They Are Saying: More Disastrous Reviews for House Democrats’ Mueller Train Wreck

♦ “A Nightmare” ♦ “A Disaster” ♦ “An Extraordinary Miscalculation” ♦ “One has to wonder… where Democrats go from here.” ♦

ABC News’ Terry Moran: “Impeachment is over. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for he members bringing forth something that is going to obviously lose in the Senate, lose with the American public.”

Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin: “Mueller has told multiple Democrats today that he doesn’t agree with how they’re characterizing parts of their arguments, on things like obstruction and the framing of the Trump Tower meeting”

CNN’s Marshall Cohen: “Mueller’s style deprived Democrats the made-for-TV moments they hoped to create, possibly to move the needle on impeachment.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper: “There were also times when it seemed like he was unfamiliar with parts of the investigation like he didn’t seem familiar with the name GPS”

CNN Commentator Alice Stewart: “What a nightmare Robert Mueller’s testimony has been for Congressional Democrats and their dreams of impeachment momentum. In his much-anticipated bombshell performance, Mueller bombed. Aside from difficult to watch testimony, there has been no new information and no elaboration on the 448-page report.”

The Federalist’s David Harsanyi: “If Democrats believed that Robert Mueller would provide them with additional ammunition for an impeachment inquiry, they made an extraordinary miscalculation.”

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham: “Here’s some advice.  Don’t build a big hearing around a lawyer who told you he didn’t want to be there.”

Fox News Contributor Sara Carter: “Dems disappoint with #Mueller show...while Bob Ducks and Weaves”

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): “I think the Democrats have to be disappointed that he didn’t more vigorously defend his process and the team.”

Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe: “Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster.”

MSNBC’s Jeremy Bash: “He kind of sucked the life out of the report.”

MSNBC’s Ari Melber: “[Mueller] did not build on a case for impeachment the way some House Democrats hoped”

NBC News’ Jonathan Allen: “WOW: Big reversal. Ratcliffe undercuts Lieu, gets Mueller to go back on OLC memo testimony.”

NBC News’ Richard Engel: “Painful to watch Mueller testimony.  So few answers.  So many unanswered questions. No flow. Hard to understand the larger issues. Confusing, even if you are deeply steeped in the case.”

NBC News’ Chuck Todd: “On optics, this was a disaster.”

New Yorker’s Susan Glasser: “Sometimes the book actually is better than the movie. #MuellerReport”

New York Post Editorial Board: “By all accounts, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hoped that dragging in former special counsel Bob Mueller for a hearing would jump-start his drive to get going on impeachment. Oops: It was a total waste of time.”

One America News Network’s Liz Wheeler: “No collusion, no conspiracy, no proof of obstruction. Oh wait... we already knew this. Big winner in today’s hearings was @realDonaldTrump.”

Politico’s John Bresnahan: “Getting worse as hearing goes on, similar to morning session”

Politico’s Blake Hounshell: “[I]t’s pretty clear that today’s hearings haven’t been the televised Mueller report that many on the left were hoping it would be.”

Politico’s Blake Hounshell: “One has to wonder, too, where Democrats go from here.”

Politico Playbook Headline: “Mueller gives impeachment crowd little to work with”

Radio Host Hugh Hewitt: “SC Mueller just walked back everything Democrat’s thought he had given them this morning even though it was the thinnest gruel to begin with.”

Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff: “Mueller seems increasingly befuddled.”

Washington Examiner’s Keith Koffler: “Democrats inviting Mueller to testify is working out about as well as the prosecution asking O.J. to try on the glove.”

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “Mueller corrects his exchange with Lieu. It’s not what Democrats wanted it to be.”