Former special counsel Robert Mueller is delivering his long-awaited testimony to a Congressional committee Wednesday morning, in which the government-appointed investigator will answer questions under oath for the first time.
In bringing Mueller in to testify via a subpoena, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are hoping that having Mueller discuss the accusations against President Trump will provide television soundbites that have the potential to hurt the president politically in a way that the written report, and news coverage of it, did not. A new report looks at the likelihood of whether that strategy will succeed.
Per Five Thirty Eight, in an analysis published prior to the start of the hearing, the former special counsel is probably “not eager to help anyone make political hay out of his testimony.” The piece goes on to argue that the hearing will likely serve to reinforce the views held by both Democrats and Republicans prior to the testimony.
“It’s really hard to change people’s minds about Trump,” Five Thirty Eight quotes political science professor Eric Schickler as saying. “So it’s very possible we’re in a new reality where congressional investigations just don’t do that much to weaken the president.”
Since taking over the House majority in January, the Democrats have launched a series of investigations into the president’s conduct, while also seeking to obtain his tax returns. The Trump administration has been seen as stonewalling these various investigations.
The site also found that the idea of impeaching the president is popular among Democrats, but not among any other cohort, and that the percentage of Americans who support impeachment has not increased since the release of Mueller’s report.
Furthermore, Mueller has been clear, both in a press conference last month and afterward, that he will not share information that’s not included in the report. And in early the stages of the hearing, Mueller has answered multiple questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee by referring them to the report itself.
On the morning before the hearing began, President Trump sent a series of tweets disparaging the hearing, Mueller himself and the former special counsel’s request to have another lawyer sit next to him during the hearing.
“Democrats and others can illegally fabricate a crime, try pinning it on a very innocent President,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “And when he fights back against this illegal and treasonous attack on our Country, they call It Obstruction.”