Special Counsel Robert Mueller was hit with criticism for his bumbling congressional testimony on Wednesday morning. Politicos from across the aisle highlighted Mueller’s slow draw to questioning and constant need for citations of his own report, sparking frustration from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers questioning him. The awkward moments were quickly compiled into a supercut video from Grabien Media, which can be viewed below.
Mueller’s lackluster performance prompted Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who can oftentimes be critical of Republicans and President Donald Trump, to question if Mueller was actually fully “in charge” of the report.
“This has been a disaster for the Democrats, and I think it’s been a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller,” said Wallace.
“He has been attacked a number of times and you would think that almost anybody else would have defended his own integrity and the integrity of the investigation, and over and over Mueller just sits silent and allows the attacks from the Republicans to sweep over him and says nothing,” the host continued. “I think it does raise questions about the degree to which he actually was in charge and in control of this report because he doesn’t seem very much in control or in charge of what the final report was.”
At another troubling point during the testimony, Mueller said he wasn’t familiar with Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous “Steele Dossier” that helped spark the investigation into alleged Russian “collusion” with Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“Robert Mueller literally just said he wasn’t familiar with Fusion GPS. My Lord. My Lord,” said Mollie Hemingway, author and Fox News contributor.
As noted by The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow, Mueller was unable to answer why the firm was not mentioned in his report. “Despite the fact that the Steele Dossier was mentioned throughout Mueller’s final report, the origins of that report were not. Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion and a key player in the creating the ‘evidence’ against Trump, was not mentioned once. Fusion’s involvement in the alleged Russia collusion was also not investigated,” she wrote.
Moreover, according to NBC News, Mueller “deflected or declined to answer questions” during the hearing at least 106 times.
“Mueller was slow to react to questions,” commented The Washington Examiner’s Byron York. “He frequently asked for questions to be repeated. He sometimes appeared confused. He did not appear to be conversant with some issues in the investigation. He did not, or could not, put together detailed answers even to those questions he agreed to address.”
York noted that reporters who’ve covered Mueller “for years” noticed a change, too:
“I haven’t seen a performance quite like this from Mueller,” the New York Times’ Noah Weiland said in an online discussion. “In 12 years as FBI director, he gave plenty of clipped responses. But more often than not he was more rhetorically agile than anyone on the committees that were questioning him. And there was rarely a time when he even paused for a second after a question was asked. There was little searching in his eyes for answers. He rarely looked at notes. … This is delicate to say, but Mueller, whom I deeply respect, has not publicly testified before Congress in at least six years. And he does not appear as sharp as he was then.”