Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the subject of obstruction of justice reiterated a number of his report findings damaging to President Donald Trump: Trump was not exonerated, Trump could theoretically be criminally charged with obstruction after leaving office, Russia’s election interference was a “serious” threat to American democracy.
But for their half-time reports, media pundits seemed far more focused on Mueller’s occasionally stumbling delivery and his refusal to address various topics.
“On optics,” said NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, “this was a disaster.” In a tweet, Todd said House Democrats were looking “for this dramatic moment that would capture the imagination.”
“Impeachment’s over,” Terry Moran, ABC’s senior national correspondent, noting that Democrats “needed more fuel for any kind of impeachment effort.”
CBS’ Major Garrett, using the overnight cliche about today’s hearing being a movie version of a boring book, asked, “Did Robert Mueller, the special counsel, act as the matinee idol or the central galvanizing figure of that drama? No, he did not.”
Newt Gingrich approvingly retweeted Fox News’ Chris Wallace’s description that “this has been a disaster for the Democrats..”
On CNN, Jake Tapper described Mueller’s performance as aggressive at times, but also “halting” and “stilted.”
Others, from Dan Rather to Michael Moore, questioned the Democrats’ over-reliance on Mueller’s testimony to begin with:
Here is a sampling of social media responses to this morning Mueller hearing.
Round 2 of today’s hearings – shifting from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Intelligence Committee and from the topic of obstruction to Russian collusion, is underway.
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