Republicans are heading into Wednesday’s appearance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller with a plan to turn the proceedings into a circus of conspiracy theories and false claims, a veteran Washington reporter claims.
Mother Jones correspondent David Corn predicted that Republicans are planning to drown out Mueller’s testimony about the final Russia report by trying to cast doubt on the underlying evidence and the events that sparked the investigation, all in an effort to give cover to Donald Trump. Mueller’s report could not establish evidence to show a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government but did lay out several actions by Trump that could constitute obstruction of justice. Mueller could not recommend charges against Trump due to a standing Department of Justice policy but made it clear that he could not exonerate Trump, either.
As Corn wrote, Republicans will likely try to muddy the waters with false claims that the investigation was a politically motivated witch hunt against the president.
“They don’t have to persuade Americans to achieve their aim; they merely have to turn the Mueller hearings into a circus with unfounded allegations and enraged rants—anything to impede Mueller from clearly conveying the overall message of his report: Russia targeted the 2016 election to help Trump, Trump encouraged and accepted that, and then he sought to stop the investigation,” Corn wrote.
David Corn has one of the longest histories among reporters in covering the Russia investigation. He was the first to report on the Steele dossier, which contained a number of unverified claims about the Trump campaign’s efforts to collude with Russia. He published the story on October 31, 2016, in Mother Jones, showing that the dossier claimed Russia had been cultivating Trump as a candidate for many years leading up to the 2016 presidential election and had gathered compromising information on him.
The hearing is set to be broadcast on a number of networks and is expected to draw significant ratings in what will be Mueller’s first live questioning since the report was issued in March.
Robert Mueller’s hearing already had some twists even before he appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees swore him in. As CNN reported, he made a last-minute request to have top deputy Aaron Zebley from the investigation sworn in before the committees, which Republicans cast as a “surprise witness.” But as the report noted, both Mueller and Zebley are now private citizens and no longer