Come on, man. Not even Jerrold Nadler can maintain this bit for more than a few seconds, not even with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota’s friendly softball question as a perfect opening. Nadler tells Camerota that the Department of Justice was “incredibly arrogant” in attempting to tell Robert Mueller how to testify, while conceding that Mueller said the same exact thing two months before receiving the letter.
What did Nadler leave out? The fact that Mueller requested the instruction:
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says it’s “incredibly arrogant” for the Justice Department to try and “instruct” Robert Mueller in his upcoming testimony https://t.co/loYrycCNOd pic.twitter.com/ZZ580YxnUZ
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 23, 2019
Perhaps Nadler has a problem with reading comprehension. The impetus for the DoJ’s “instruction” is disclosed explicitly in the very first paragraph of Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer’s letter:
“Your letter requests that the Department provide you with guidance concerning privilege,” Wesinsheimer wrote, “or other legal bars applicable to potential testimony in connection with those subpoenas.” Where’s the “incredible arrogance” in providing the guidance that Mueller himself requested?
Even for Nadler, this is pretty desperate spin. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Democrats will end up with nothing to gain from the Mueller appearance that Nadler demanded, and might end up worse off than before. Andrew McCarthy weighs in today on Democrats’ need to prepare for disappointment tomorrow:
Democrats want Mueller to say he would have charged President Trump with obstruction of justice were it not for Justice Department guidance instructing that a sitting president may not be indicted. Mueller cannot say that without contradicting his report and his statements at a late May press conference.
He is not going to do that. …
The problem for Democrats is that they have now had their political narrative but it has largely fallen flat. Americans were told for two years that Trump had conspired with Russia. Once Mueller conceded that there was no such conspiracy, the public had decidedly less interest in the obstruction aspect of the investigation.
As a practical matter, the obstruction angle cannot be revived unless Mueller proclaims that, after carefully weighing the evidence, he decided there was a prosecutable obstruction case against President Trump but he was prohibited by the Justice Department guidance from indicting it. Mueller, however, has already asserted — in the report and in his press conference — that this is not what happened.
Moreover, he has emphatically stated that the report is his testimony, and he is neither going to contradict it nor revisit its reasoning. As the special counsel put it at his press conference, “That is the office’s final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.”
Democrats are stuck with that answer. The record could get worse for them if Mueller’s testimony goes poorly. It is not going to get better.
Nadler now wants to create a narrative that this failure is due to the DoJ dictating the outcome by ordering Mueller to keep his mouth shut, when in fact it was Mueller who requested the backup to his publicly declared position in May. Nadler called him anyway, and now he’s stuck with the nothingburger that Mueller appears to have prepared for Nadler’s digestion. Bon appetit!