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Hearings Were Mueller Being Mueller

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article comparing the backgrounds of the President and the then newly appointed Special Prosecutor. Both came from wealthy families and went to private schools and universities. But their post-college lives were quite different. The President went into the family real estate business and got a deferment from military service. The Special Prosecutor joined the Marine Corps, went to Vietnam and then entered the FBI and government service.

I thought that Robert Mueller’s recent testimony on Capitol Hill could be capsulized in two words: “no surprises.” He came across as advertised. Two years of investigation without a leak, disciplined in his comments, and he stuck to his report. “Yes, sir.” “No, sir.” “I will let the report speak for itself”–all straight up, unambiguous answers. He sounded like he was back at Paris Island in the Marine Corps. He didn’t want to go to Capitol Hill, but when summoned by subpoena, he obeyed orders and went.

The Democrats wanted him to challenge the spin on the report that had been generated by the administration when the report was first released. He refused to do that. The Republicans wanted him to stumble and fall and contradict himself. He didn’t. It was just straight up Mueller being Mueller.

What did come across were his unchallenged conclusions that the Russians had interfered in our elections and are still doing so. The Trump campaign had communicated with the Russians and hoped that would help their cause, but there was not sufficient evidence that they had “colluded” with them. The Report left open the issue of obstruction of justice leaving that matter up to the Congress.

If there was any failing with Mueller’s testimony it was in the unabashed acknowledgement by almost everyone that he is not very good at “show biz.” He didn’t create a big PR event like former FBI Director Comey did. From what I was able to read, I don’t think he tweeted once during this whole episode. I, for one, was pleased that not everyone in Washington, D.C. needs to have a soap box to speak from.

So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with the next Presidential election and the American people. The formerly demonized Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, appears to be the adult in the room and a voice of reason. She is not about to let impeachment–a one-house effort, doomed to defeat in the Senate before it starts–take up the time of either the House or the American people.

That is probably good for everyone. We will just have to wait and see how Presidential politics plays out and whether the Democratic Party can field a candidate who can garner the support of the American people and win the Presidency. It will be a long, contentious and disagreeable campaign season. But, that is the American way and we will work our way through it.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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