Mueller actually answered the “Most Important Question.” Not just once, but twice.


For the entire wee between Mueller’s anticipated testimony on July 17th, an his actual testimony on July 24th, the blabbing skulls of punditry on the networks constantly floated the tantalizing teaser of whether or not Robert Mueller would answer “The Ultimate Question.” Said question of course being, Mr Mueller, would you have charged the President with obstruction of justice if it were not for the OLC memo?” Vegas wouldn’t even take odds on that one, the prohibitive favorite was a resounding “NO!”

But it had to be tried, and it was Democratic congressman Ted Lieu from California who tried it, albeit in a slightly sneaky manner. In a series of quick, direct questions, meant to elicit simple “yes” or “no” answers, Lieu slipped in “Director Mueller, the only reason you did not in fact President Trump for obstruction of justice was the OLC memo, correct?” To which Mueller replied “Correct.” Lieu played it perfectly, continuing to ask questions to try to cover that exchange up, but everybody in the world knew that Mueller would have to correct his response, which he did in his opening statement in the afternoon session.

But then, in the afternoon session, a funny thing happened on the way to the boredom. Colorado GOP congressman Ken Buck, who has apparently spent the last week using his head to perform a self colonoscopy, since there has been unanimous agreement on the answer asked a rather dimwitted question;

Buck” So, you believe that a President can be charged with a crime after he leaves office?

Mueller: Yes

Buck slipped on the ice and fell on his ass. But apparently Buck was blissfully unaware that everybody on the planet already knew that answer, because he tried to ask the same question again, only with a couple of devastating word changes;

Buck” So..So you could charge the President with obstruction of justice after he left office?

Mueller: Yes

If you weren’t paying really close attention, it appeared that Buck was stunned by Mueller’s initial answer, and repeated the question, looking for a different response. But it was by no means the same question. In his first attempt, Buck asked a generic question, could anybody charge a president, any president, with a crime, any crime after he leaves office? The answer was yes. But on the second go around, Buck screwed up major by getting specific, “So…So you (Mueller specifically) could charge the president with obstruction of justice (a specific crime), after he left office?” Mueller: “Yes”.

Now one can claim that the first time around with Lieu, that Mueller was caught unaware, and simply replied “yes” to yet another in a string of questions that all elicited similar responses, without realizing the import o his answer. I find that likely, since Mueller moved quickly to correct the record when he realized what he had actually said. Similarly, it is possible that Mueller missed the subtle changes in Buck’s second question as well. But it has been more than 48 hours now, and no correction has been offered by Mueller, so I’m assuming he knew what he said, and feels no need to change the answer.

But the fact of the matter is simple. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was asked a simple and direct question, could he successfully charge President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice once he left office? And the simple, blunt answer was yes. Add to that response the fact that in later questioning, Mueller refused to knock down the statement that one of the reasons that he and his team declined to subpoena Trump to testify to the grand jury was that they thought that they already had sufficient evidence of intent to obstruct justice, and the implication is clear. The only reason that Donald Trump was not perp walked right on into federal court alongside Michael Cohen was because of the Office of Legal Counsel memo prohibiting indicting or charging a sitting president. Both as “Individual One” in the Cohen charges, as well as independent charges for obstruction of justice. Let’s see Barr try to wriggle his pandering ass out of that one.

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  1. I vote from Rep Buck’s district (my last US address) so I called his office and thanked him for screwing tRump to the wall. I don’t think they appreciated it.

  2. Here’s some questions to ponder – and keep in mind Zebley was sworn in as a witness and COULD have interjected right then and there to “clarify the record” as Mueller did at the beginning (r.e. the example you cited with Liu) of the afternoon hearing. And he just sat there.

    Reading your piece makes me wonder….

    Mueller has a decades long reputation of straight down the middle, by the book avoidance of partisanship. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know part of the reason he didn’t want to testify either in public or behind closed doors was he didn’t want to get branded as partisan for agreeing with Democrat’s questions branding Trump as the liar and criminal that he is – after all had he done so and the GOP tried to get him to recant he wouldn’t have been able to do so. So, in his own understated way Mueller did his best to as promised stick to what was in his report and say as little as possible – and let the devastating but legalistic version of his “indictment” of the President in the report do the talking. However, while he no doubt agreed with Liu Mueller quickly realized that since he’d agreed with a DEMOCRAT that this President could be indicted after he’s out of Office that the GOP would paint him as a partisan so he “cleaned it up” as soon as he had the chance.

    Then in the afternoon, even after Mueller had “clarified” his response to Liu a Republican was dumb enough to try and get him to recant even that. Could it be that Mueller made a quick calculation that since it was a REPUBLICAN asking that he could go ahead and give an honest and direct answer? Not once btw but twice – even after that same dumbass numbnuts Republican came right back and made the question specific to THIS President and THIS situation? Could it be that Mueller, having endured a day of questioning and trying not to start a partisan fire recognized that a Republican was giving him the chance to say something he really, really wished he could long ago have stated bluntly?

    Like you I find it curious that a couple of days have gone by and there has been no “correction” type press release issued by Mueller. Or Zebley who I again remind folks was perfectly capable of stepping in. Maybe, just maybe both Mueller and Zebley wanted it to be part of the official record. Hell, when crafting the initial “clarification” that was delivered by Mueller at the beginning of the session they actually talked about how it would be nice to be able to say that they could indict and convict Trump on the evidence they had once he wasn’t protected by that OLC memo – but that they only way they could get away with it was if some Republican on the panel was stupid/clueless enough to ask the right question!

    I know that’s some serious speculation on my part but it fits with the events/facts as we know and saw them. And being who he is it was clear Mueller is plenty offended by Trump’s open solicitation of Russian help and his campaign’s willingness to accept it. As an old-school institutionalist who knows damn well that even Nixon had SOME (not many but a few) standards and or guardrails Trump surely offends Mueller in ways he couldn’t express if he had the literary gifts of Shakespeare and the oratorical gifts of JFK, Reagan and Obama combined. The legal standard for proving Conspiracy Against the United States is a (very) high bar and between all the lies, document destruction, witnesses he couldn’t talk to and records locked up in foreign countries AND the cutoff of cooperation from Ukraine (that weapons deal Trump made – remember that?) which might have produced some credible fact witnesses Mueller had a lot of evidence of conspiracy but it would be a tough case to win. He surely believes damn well the effort was cooperative and said so in so many words, and it takes a very close look to see the nuance his report (and testimony) gives to the matter in drawing the distinction between the legal standard of conspiracy and the generic term of collusion or cooperation including mutual cooperation.

    Hell yes I think Mueller would gladly have indicted Trump if he could have, and would have relished having his team prosecute the asshole. I also think it’s not only possibly but as I’ve said likely Mueller wished there was a way for him to say so (if only on the Obstruction of Justice part) without seeming partisan. And that maybe, just maybe he thought the only way he could get away with it was if a REPUBLICAN was stupid enough to give him the chance.

    I think that’s possible. How likely is a matter for debate but what a point to ponder!

    • Good points…But personally, I think that Zebley was there purely to twist the tails of Trump and Barr…This was MUELLER’S show, their one crack at him, and I think that the gentlemens agreement was that, like a good child, Zebley would speak only if spoken to…


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