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Schiff: Here’s the ‘Essence’ of What Mueller Was Trying to Say

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

If former special counsel Robert Mueller's unnecessary and oftentimes painful testimony about his Russia report on Wednesday didn't convince the Democrats to call it quits, will anything? Impeachment Democrats were especially left out in the cold. Mueller did little to help their cause, besides reiterate what he'd already written in his 448-page report, including how his team found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Even the mainstream media said this thing is over, move on.


Yet, somehow, during a Democratic caucus meeting following the hearings, some lawmakers were reportedly convinced more than ever that it's time to impeach President Trump. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Adam Schiff confirmed that on CNN Thursday morning, and the anchors asked why. 

Trump, Schiff said, has proven himself to be "unethical," "unpatriotic," "immoral," and "criminal."

CNN's John Berman stopped him right there.

"Those are your words," Berman noted, "not his."

In fact, Mueller didn't have many words at all. Most of his responses on Wednesday consisted of one word.

Berman also noted how everyone else - literally everyone - said Mueller gave a terrible performance. He stuttered, he struggled to hear, he seemed nervous. Schiff acknowledged that Mueller was a "reluctant witness" who often gave "halted" answers, but the chairman knew what he was trying to say.

If you paid attention to his testimony, Mueller's words were "powerful," Schiff insisted. Consider, for instance, how the panel got Mueller "to acknowledge the false claims of exoneration by the president." He also exposed the "troubling" nature of the president's conduct - at least that was the "essence" of Mueller's testimony.


Forget Mueller's lackluster style, Schiff suggested. The substance of what Mueller had to say was "devastating" and he "lived up to" Schiff's expectations.

Still, it wasn't enough to convince the chairman it's time to move on impeachment. Like many Democrats, he's "wrestling" with it.

"I’m not there yet, but I’m keeping an open mind and I may get there."

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