In my initial reactions post yesterday, I described what appeared to be knowledge gaps and cognitive shortcomings on the part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Out of respect for his career of service and patriotism, I somewhat soft-pedaled these points. On my Fox News radio program last evening, however, longtime Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy was more candid. He said the proceedings made him viscerally sad, stating outright that after watching hours of testimony, he believes the venerable lawman was not in control of the investigation that bore his name:
McCarthy: I just think he didn't know the investigation.
Benson: You really think there were other people calling the shots and pulling the strings?
McCarthy: I do, yes. I don't think he could tell you what the OLC guidance was.
Benson: Wow, really?
I'm not necessarily fully sold on the congealing narrative that Mueller was a mere figurehead -- a respected, nominal Republican sitting atop the probe -- while anti-Trump partisans ran the show. But in addition to his lack of command of key facts and elements of his own report, I'll admit that this exchange with Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) also seemed strange to me as I watched it. The whole back and forth is worth your time, but the key bit starts around the four minute mark:
Mueller couldn't, or wouldn't, say who wrote the highly-scrutinized letter sent by his office to the Attorney General, effectively complaining that the narrative around Mueller's findings were not to the special counsel's liking. Barr's summary of Mueller's bottom-line findings were accurate, but it seemed as though Mueller wasn't pleased with the flavor of how things were being framed in the press. The letter felt like a political act, especially because it leaked into the public eye -- unlike basically anything else out of Muellerworld. In the clip above, the special counsel dodged on who actually wrote that seemingly politically-motivated missive, and could not cobble together an answer about the suspicious nature of the leak. I'll just say that the 'Mueller wasn't really running the show' theory became at least a bit more plausible to me in that exchange. Here's McCarthy driving his point home:
"Now I think the politics here shift...we're going to move to the investigation of the investigators. And what's going to get a lot more scrutiny now, necessarily, is Mueller's staff -- because he clearly did not run this investigation."
I'll leave you with this:
A frail old man, unable to remember things, stumbling, refusing to answer basic questions...I said it in 2017 and Mueller confirmed it today — All you pundits and moderates and lame Dems who told the public to put their faith in the esteemed Robert Mueller — just STFU from now on— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) July 24, 2019
Wow, Mueller was just asked about "no collusion" and he struggled to remember what word the report used instead, trying to find it in the report. That was pretty brutal to watch.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) July 24, 2019