Robert Mueller's confused, garbled testimony made it abundantly clear that he was nothing more than a figurehead for the special counsel investigation that he ostensibly led for 22 painstaking months. The real mastermind behind this travesty of an investigation was Mueller’s second-in-command, Andrew Weissmann, and it’s time that he be held to account.
First, there are deeply vexing questions that remain to be answered about the Russia collusion scandal—and the American people deserve to know exactly what went on during this witch hunt.
For instance, when, precisely, did the investigation start? Why did the special counsel staff his team with lifelong Democrats who held a clear bias against the president? Why did Mueller’s team rely on unsubstantiated, partisan opposition research to justify spying on members of the Trump campaign?
Although Mueller was constrained by the Justice Department from discussing matters beyond the content of his report, he wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions even if he had been given free rein. Throughout his testimony, Mueller demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge about even some of the most basic details of his own work.
“When you talk about the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was Fusion GPS, is that correct?” Chabot asked.
“I’m not familiar with that,” Mueller responded.
Mueller often struggled to recall other basic facts of the investigation, as well, at times even contradicting the language of his report.
Many observers have long suspected that Mueller didn’t write his own report on Russian election interference, and now, we know that he didn’t bother reading it, either.
Democrats will be eager to move on from this embarrassing episode, but Republicans shouldn’t be so quick to let Mueller and his team of rabidly anti-Trump operatives off the hook. If the former special counsel were merely a figurehead of the Russia investigation, the implication is that he let his second-in-command run the show from the very beginning.
The only thing Mueller’s testimony revealed is that he was never truly in charge of the special counsel investigation. If the American people are ever going to learn the truth about that witch hunt, Senate Republicans will have to painstakingly extract it from the man who really ran the show—Weissmann.