by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Analysis of special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent congressional testimony focuses on his apparent ignorance of key facts in his own investigation into alleged Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Margot Cleveland of the Federalist isn’t buying it.
While much of the criticism leveled at Mueller following his testimony focused on his ignorance of key facts and his confusion over the details contained in the special counsel’s report, the following seven lines of inquiry show Mueller knew exactly what he was doing.
1. I Don’t Know What the Regulations Say, Except When I Do
With Democrats hammering on Part 2 of the special counsel report, which addressed obstruction of justice, Republicans attempted to show that Mueller violated governing regulations by failing make a “charging or declination decision,” as required by the special counsel regulations. …
… Mueller, knowing full well that he had slimed President Trump in violation of the special counsel regulations, feigned ignorance, claiming he “would have to look more closely at the statute.” “I just read it to you,” an exacerbated Sensenbrenner countered, before noting that special counsel report did not render a prosecutorial decision.
However, later Mueller had no problems answering a question about the special counsel regulations when they weren’t even quoted to him. …
… 2. I’m Not Getting Into Any Details That Make Me Look Bad …
… “I’m not going to engage in discussion about what happened after the production of our report,” Mueller replied. Roby persisted: “Had the attorney general asked you to provide a redacted version of the report?” Now Mueller answered, but with a dodge: “We worked on redacted versions together.”
So apparently Mueller was willing to discuss what happened after he produced the report. Well, only if the answer wouldn’t subject him to criticism, that is, since when Roby asked whether Barr requested “a version where the grand jury material was separated,” Mueller said, “I’m not going to get into details.”
There was no legitimate basis for Mueller to refuse to answer that question.