Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Mueller Testimony - Well that didn't go as planned

I couldn't resist tuning into the live stream of Robert Mueller's testimony yesterday and what I saw left me dumbfounded.

To appreciate why, you're going to need to watch a few seconds of video. Consider Mueller's opening statement:

That message was delivered in a stern tone that matches the mental image we carry of Robert Mueller.

The first crack I noticed came a few minutes later, when Jerry Nadler asked a soft-ball question:

Here Mueller is being asked to explain in simple terms one, if not the most, essential finding in the report. Not only does he fail to provide a response which meets the standard of being helpful the public, he barely manages to get an answer out at all.

Jump a few minutes forward and you see another troubling exchange:

In this clip Mueller is again asked a critical question: is collusion the same thing as conspiracy? His first answer is 'no.' When challenged, he changes his answer to 'yes.' What's troubling is that the change from 'no' to 'yes' seems not based on a further understanding of the question, but upon the notation that the report is a sort of safe space. The problem with this approach is in the details: the report and question have their own nuances, to link the two together may or may not be sensible. This required a level of precision Mueller seemed not to be able to muster. Whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no' is less important to me than his ability to provide a cogent response.

I didn't watch the entire day's full of hearings, but from what I did watch, things didn't get any better from here.

My first thought was to blame the Democrats: how could they be so foolish as to choose such an incompetent witness? But that's ridiculous; someone with such a critical job to do should have the skills needed to defend his or her work. My frustration is now squarely on Robert Muller himself and those that appointed him.

Let me understand this: you spent 2 years exhaustively investigating an attack on our country, and when asked about simple facts you're not able to articulate them with clarity? If your work product is so essential, shouldn't you relish the opportunity to correct the record and insure that all parties understanding your findings?

I'm not sure what the ramifications of this display is, or how to remedy any of this. But I do know I can't unsee what I saw yesterday and that it almost certainly matters. If nothing else, we traded a possible moment of clarity for one that added a new layer of noise.

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