Robert Mueller was sobering. That spilled over to D.C. bars

Political Theater, Episode 83

A man watches former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testify before the House Judiciary Committee on a TV screen at Duffy’s Irish Pub in Washington on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Have we hit peak Mueller?

That would seem to be the former special counsel’s preference, which was certainly reflected in a blah reaction from those tuning in.

Although the scene at the Capitol for former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s testimony was circus-like, the former G-man was adamant he was not going to say anything different than what was in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election — even if it was before a live studio audience. 

And despite getting a bit animated from time to time to defend his staff, the former FBI director perfected the art of nonchalantly saying “I’m not going to talk about that.” He wanted everyone to read his report; he even said earlier this year that the report was his testimony, hoping to beg off being hauled in front of Congress, just as he was Wednesday. 

That reticence came through, as he parried away questions left and right, from the left and the right. Like Harrison Ford hauled into studio to do a postproduction voice-over for “Blade Runner,” his delivery was flat, even if the details about the vulnerability of our democracy and the behavior of Donald Trump and his campaign associates were lurid.

As is their habit, bars around Washington hoped to lure patrons in with the promise of Mueller-related spectating and booze. How about a Moscow Mueller for $5 during his testimony? From a small sample, Mueller’s appearance did not rise to the frenzy-level of previous events like the 2017 testimony of fired FBI Director James B. Comey or the 2018 Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. 

Maybe it was because there was no homework assigned beforehand. The Mueller report, all 500 or so pages, is an important document in American history. But it is a sobering one too. And that does not mix all that well with a Moscow Mueller.

Show Notes: 

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