4 Key Takeaways from the Mueller Congressional Testimony
Democrats went into Wednesday’s testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller hoping for a “gotcha” moment that would shock the nation.
But during seven hours of testimony before Congress, Mueller did not deliver. Instead, he declined to answer many questions from both sides, mostly repeated the findings of his report, and gave multiple short answers without elaboration.
Here are four key takeaways:
1. IT GAVE BOTH SIDES SOME AMMUNITION
The Republican National Committee released a statement calling it a “blockbuster backfire” that didn’t provide any additional details already known.
Republicans pointed to Mueller’s declaration that “we did not make any determination with regard to culpability in any way.”
Democrats, though, emphasized another part of Mueller’s testimony: He said his report did not exonerate Trump. He also said Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.
“It was a giant step in making sure that the American people got a picture of all of this,” said Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee. “I’m begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on.”
2. IT LIKELY DIDN’T MOVE THE IMPEACHMENT BALL
“I’m not sure if [Mueller] changed the dial on impeachment,” said Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.), who supports impeachment. “I think it’ll depend on how the public views what they saw.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted this month showed only 21 percent of registered voters believe impeachment hearings should begin.
After Mueller spoke, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said she wasn’t ready to begin impeachment hearings.
“We want to have the strongest possible case to make a decision as to what path we will go down,” Pelosi said, according to CNN. “The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the President off the hook.”