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Robert Mueller is being questioned by the House Judiciary Committee today, which should have been called “The Mueller Report Television Movie”.

First, if anyone is expecting that anything substantive will happen as a result of this hearing, they really haven’t been paying attention. It won’t. This hearing is literally scripted by Mueller’s report, because he is not going to say anything that he didn’t put in the report. If you’re not going to call it a television movie, you can call it yet another media circus on the Hill.

Why bother with a hearing?

The House Judiciary Committee is going through the motions. If there wasn’t a hearing, someone (most likely from the left) might suggest that the report was utterly ignored. That is generally the truth anyway, since the only people who probably read the entire report were the poor research assistants on the Hill and at various media outlets across the country.

The primary problem with this entire exercise is the same as everything else in Washington today. Both sides are intent on protecting and pleasing their own sides of the political divide. This hearing is not about getting to the truth.

Major takeaways

In order to understand why this entire situation is just political posturing, it’s important to understand a few basic truths. We’re not going to see Mueller say that he really wished he could charge Trump, or anything else like that because the Department of Justice guidance on prosecution doesn’t permit him to do it. The talk about “presumption of innocence” and other terms one hears on any legal drama on TV is just window-dressing. Mueller has said that he could charge Trump for obstruction at least, once he leaves office which is why he said that his investigation did not exonerate the president. This is an issue of jurisdiction – the DOJ doesn’t have it now, but Congress does. If the members of Congress who follow these lines of questioning don’t realize that, then their own constituents might want to think about whether or not they should be re-elected.

Mueller wrote the second volume of his report as a proverbial road map for Congress, if they would choose to start impeachment proceedings. The standard there is different from criminal actions. Terminology for impeachment has historically been vague, and was arguably watered down even further because of the Clinton debacle. If anyone thought that going after a sitting president for getting lucky in the Oval Office wouldn’t hurt the Congressional power of impeachment, they should be admitting they were wrong now.

There is no debating about whether or not the Trump campaign shared information with the Russians. At the very least, Paul Manafort gave polling numbers to them. In case anyone is confused, the legality of political campaigns sharing information with foreign powers is a gray area, probably because no one up until now thought is was necessary to specifically say “no, it is not legal to share information of any kind with foreign nations while running for office, particularly the presidency.”

Finally, Congress is not interested in doing anything about malfeasance in office, particularly in the White House. Every Congressperson in that hearing room today knows this. If they don’t, then their respective constituents need to replace them. Congress has been limping along for years, not holding its rightful position in Washington. It has failed to do its job, and has repeatedly caused the president – going back decades – to act in its place. The only thing that members of Congress seem to be interested in doing is complaining when a president from the opposite side of the aisle does their jobs.

So, enjoy the circus if you like. In all honesty, your time would be better spent drafting letters to your Congressperson and Senators, asking them when they plan on actually doing their jobs. If you’re really wanting information on the Mueller Report, sit down and read. The Congress production of it on-air today is too full of political fluff.

Liz Harrison

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