Pushing the conspiracy theory that Trump worked with the Russians to win the 2016 presidential election is apparently not enough for Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) anymore. He is now trumpeting a new conspiracy theory that somebody “got to” Robert Mueller.
Lieu’s “theory” was based on Mueller’s testimony this week before the House Judiciary and House Intelligence committees.
At one point during the questioning, Lieu asked Mueller if he had chosen not to prosecute President Donald Trump following his investigation only because of a Justice Department office of legal counsel opinion that prohibits a sitting president from being indicted.
“The reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked Mueller.
“That is correct,” Mueller responded at the time.
The answer is no doubt one that got Democrats excited. If the Justice Department opinion was the only reason Mueller did not charge Trump with a crime then that would likely mean the president is guilty. The trouble is the Mueller report finds Trump guilty of no crime. There’s nothing for Mueller to charge the president with. The most ammo the report gave to Democrats is that Mueller refuses to completely endorse the fact that Trump is innocent of obstruction of justice, which is, quite frankly, not the job of an investigator.
Mueller ended up changing his answer anyway when he went in for his second testimony on Wednesday.
“Now before we go to questions, I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning,” Mueller said in his opening remarks to the House Intelligence Committee. “I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said, and I quote, ‘you didn’t charge the president because of the OLC opinion.’”
He continued, “That is not the correct way to say it,” he said, “as we say in the report, and as I said in the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
It was this correction that fueled Lieu’s conspiracy theory, which he was more than happy to push during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“[Y]ou say Mueller fully understood your question. Doesn’t Mueller’s correction, which he later provided, prove otherwise?” Blitzer asked the Democrat lawmaker.
“This is what’s so odd about that exchange. Special counsel Robert Mueller agreed that the OLC opinion prevented a sitting president from being indicted, and then the Republican member after me asked him a series of questions to try to get him to walk it back, and he did not do that,” Lieu said.
He continued, “And then it wasn’t until there was a recess with the Intel committee that he started to walk some of it back.”
The congressman then added, “I don’t know who got to him. I don’t know who talked to him, but that was very odd, what he did.”
“What are you suggesting?” Blitzer cautiously asked. “Are you saying he only did that because of pressure from someone?”
Lieu responded, “I don’t know, but he clearly answered the way he answered to me, and then he had numerous times to walk that back by the next Republican member who asked him a series of questions on the exact same issue trying to get him to walk it back.”
Lieu is at least the second Democrat to push the narrative that Trump might have “something” on Mueller. As BPR reported, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was quick to float the same conspiracy.
Perhaps, another theory was at play.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy suggested Mueller was just a face in the whole investigation that was conducted in his name.
“I think this is the big takeaway from the hearing — it’s inconceivable that Robert Mueller ran this investigation,” McCarthy said.
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