To say that Robert S. Mueller III did not distinguish himself in his Congressional testimony Wednesday would be an understatement. His answers were halting, when not evasive, and he repeatedly had to ask that a question be repeated. Long before his appearance before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, there had been rumors that he was senile.
His testimony today suggests two possibilities: that he really is senile, or that he is pretending to be so in order to avoid having to explain his conduct as Special Prosecutor. If the latter is true, it had to do with his reluctance to discuss his decision to hire a host of hyper-partisan Democrats, such as Andrew Weissman, to do the footwork on the case and with his failure to investigate the origins of the Fusion GPS report and to consider the possibility that the Russians made clever use of the Clinton campaign.
I am, however, inclined to suppose that the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is senile and that he was already suffering from dementia when he was named Special Prosecutor. This would explain a great deal. If, in effect, the hyper-partisan Andrew Weissman was in charge, it would explain why, though by then they knew that he was innocent, the Special Prosecutor and his team did not exonerate Donald Trump of collusion with the Russians prior to the 2018 midterms. It would also explain the absence of any curiosity concerning Christopher Steele and the Fusion GPS report. And, of course, it would explain all the malarkey about obstruction of justice.
Donald Trump is an impulsive man. He knew that he was innocent of the charge being weighed by the Special Prosecutor, and he rightly discerned from the outset that Mueller’s appointment was a ploy aimed at his ouster. That this would enrage a man of his temperament is no surprise. But let’s face it. If you were on the receiving end of such treatment, you would be more than annoyed. That Trump would thrash about seeking the means for getting off the hook also makes sense, as does his rancor against Jeff Sessions, who allowed himself to be bulldozed by the staff of the Department of Justice. But, in the end, Trump did nothing to interfere with the investigation.
There are two matters that need investigation: the attempt to cripple an administration on … er … trumped-up charges, and the larger attempt to make the Department of Justice independent of the President, who is charged by the Constitution with the execution of the laws. William Barr and his merry women and men have their work cut out for them.