Responding to special counsel Robert Mueller’s declaration Wednesday that he’d prefer to never speak about the Russia probe again, CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin basically told him to get over it.
“I mean, this notion that, well, Mueller doesn’t want to testify, you know what, TOO BAD!” he said Wednesday evening on “The Situation Room.” “Most witnesses don’t want to testify in front of Congress. It’s a generally unpleasant experience. But the point is Congress needs the information.”
“And, of course, it’s different when you hear a person of enormous rectitude to say something then to invite the public to read 448 single space pages,” Toobin continued. “I mean, I don’t think Congress has anything to apologize for for wanting to hear from him and why [House Judiciary Committee chair] Jerry Nadler appears to be throwing in the towel preemptively seems just bizarre to me.”
Is forcing Mueller to testify really in the Democrats’ best interests, though? Most Democrats — both those in Congress and those in Hollywood and the media — appear to believe so:
Mueller has one more service to provide — testimony before Congress and the American people.
If he wants the public to better understand the seriousness of the Russian interference, and prevent others from misrepresenting his work, duty calls once more.
Mueller should testify. pic.twitter.com/7gsmXokcTy
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 30, 2019
Robert De Niro: Robert Mueller, We Need to Hear More https://t.co/ib3m5J02x2 Mueller needs to testify and help the Public learn about his important work and crimes committed by Trump
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) May 30, 2019
Democratic @RepMikeQuigley says Robert Mueller should testify before Congress.
“In his moment of extreme fairness, he is protecting a President of the United States who has absolutely no concern for the rule of law who is flouting it.” https://t.co/EgMwJCcrxe pic.twitter.com/DVQdYhWqC6
— New Day (@NewDay) May 30, 2019
Robert De Niro writes open letter urging Robert Mueller to testify: “You’re no Stephen King” https://t.co/avwfEn8KsW
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 30, 2019
Are they right? Not necessarily. Why? For the same reasons that renowned conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh desperately wants Republicans to force Mueller to testify.
“The Republicans ought not let him get away with that, by the way. Mueller does need to testify, and the Republicans need to be the ones carrying the ball on this,” he said Wednesday on his nationally syndicated radio talk show. “They need to get him up there.”
To do what? To pepper him with questions about the origins of the Russia probe.
“What about the dossier?” Limbaugh continued. “What about all of this that you haven’t reported on? Did you know that the dossier was fake? Did you know that it’s made up? Do you know that it was political opposition research? Do you know that it formed a large part of the entire investigation before you picked up the job?”
While it’s true that Attorney General Bill Barr has launched an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe and even assigned a “bulldog” prosecutor to lead it, what remains unknown is why Mueller never made an attempt to answer these questions for himself.
“I think that’s why he doesn’t want to testify — he doesn’t want to get those questions,” Limbaugh said. “He’s not afraid of what the Democrats are gonna ask him.”
“He’s obviously on the same page with the Democrats. Everybody wants to get Trump. He delivered his final assist today in helping the Democrats do it, by making them think that there are impeachable offenses that Mueller just couldn’t prove. No! I take that back. It’s better than that. He has made them think that Trump committed crimes but that he couldn’t indict him because he’s a sitting president, that only Jerry Nadler and his guys in the House can do it.”
Fellow conservative radio show host Mark Levin has some questions for Mueller as well.
“I want a challenge of Mueller’s premises today which is one of the reasons why he didn’t want to be questioned,” he said Wednesday evening on FNC’s “Hannity.” “Did Mueller say he had evidence of a crime that met the probable cause standard but could not indict? He never says that. He doesn’t say it today, it’s not in his report. He doesn’t say he has probable cause ever.”
“Number two. Did he say we had to question the president about obstruction and therefore found others who had actually obstructed and charged them? No. Who are these other people? There aren’t any other people because the president didn’t obstruct. So, no, nobody else who was not immune was charged with obstruction for trying to cover up this investigation.”
Last but not least, Levin wants to know why Mueller left the obstruction of justice verdict up to Barr: “Why did Mueller leave it to the Attorney General to decide obstruction rather than wait a couple years and see if the president wins reelection and if he doesn’t, indict him in 2020?”
It’s unclear whether Toobin and other liberal Democrats realize that, if and when Mueller is forced to testify, he’s going to have to answer every single one of these questions. As one astute observer of Toobin’s meltdown noted, “careful what you wish for.”
Mueller doesn’t want to be questioned by Republicans is what it is. Careful what you wish for.
— Wally G. ? (@Zoomm01) May 30, 2019
As of Thursday morning, the only Republican who’d definitely come out in support of forcing Mueller to testify was California Rep. Tom McClintock. In a scathing statement posted to Twitter, the Republican legislator demanded that Mueller testify to clear up his “pettifoggery,” i.e., his BS.
Statement on Mueller Press Conference: (part 1 of 2) Mr. Mueller’s statement today is a case study in pettifoggery, and reinforces my position that he should be compelled to testify before Congress. Any president…
— Tom McClintock (@RepMcClintock) May 29, 2019
(part 2 of 2) can be indicted after he leaves office and it was Mueller’s job to make a recommendation for prosecution, if one existed. He did not. Instead, he prefers to make innuendoes while hiding behind DOJ guidelines and not be questioned. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
— Tom McClintock (@RepMcClintock) May 29, 2019
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