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Matt Gaetz's Ferocity Exposes Mueller's Anti-Trump Bias

July 25, 2019 - 9:00am
Robert Mueller and Matt Gaetz
Robert Mueller and Matt Gaetz

Congressional Republicans gave Robert Mueller and the Democrats a rough ride Wednesday, but no one took on the special counsel with greater intensity than Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. 

The testimony of the lead investigator into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian interests in 2016 was a highly anticipated event following the release of his so-named Mueller Report.

Mueller, a former FBI director, at times stammered his answers, and the Democrats appeared disorganized and frantic, grasping for anything to gain traction in what they hoped would lead to impeachment proceedings against the president.

It was clear by the end of the day: Nearly two years of investigations, hundreds of subpoenas, and countless witnesses interviewed showed the Trump campaign did not coordinate or conspire with the Russian government in its election-interference activities -- no indictments, no collusion, no obstruction. Mueller had gone to The Hill Wednesday hoping to clear his record but his "case" crumbled against searing GOP questioning.

Florida's Gaetz led the charge. He landed a haymaker of a question/response. Gaetz asked as his opener, “Director Mueller, can you state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of Russia’s disinformation campaign?” The Steele Dossier has become such a discredited component of the entire Russian investigation that Mueller is desperate to get away from it.

Haltingly, Mueller answered, “As I said in my opening statement, that part of the building of the case predated me by at least 10 months.” Gaetz, who was ready for this meek deflection, jumped all over the special counsel.

“Yeah, and Paul Manafort’s alleged crimes regarding tax evasion predated you. You had no trouble charging them. As a matter of fact, the Steele dossier predated the attorney general (referring to William Barr), and he didn’t have any problem answering the question when Sen. Cornyn asked the attorney general the exact question I asked you, director.”

Gaetz then moved on to the red meat of this particular subject: Where was the Russian involvement with the origination of the dossier, and why was Mueller so incurious? “Christopher Steele’s reporting is referenced in your report. Steele reported to the FBI that senior Russian foreign ministry figures along with other Russians told him there was ... ‘extensive evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin.’”

“Here’s my question," Gaetz continued. "Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele? Or did he just make it all up and was he lying to the FBI?” Mueller resorted here to his pattern throughout the day’s questioning -- claiming to Republicans to have his hands tied and unable to answer, but effusive and open with Democrats’ queries.

“As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.” This was a patently ridiculous response from Mueller, given he was charged with finding out specifically if there was Russian involvement in this very aspect. How could his investigation be launched due to the contents of the Steele dossier, but not have the dossier itself under his "purview"? It was pure deflection. Gaetz kept up the pressure.

“No, it is! It is exactly your purview, Director Mueller, and here’s why: Only one of two things is possible -- Either Steele made this whole thing up, and there were never any Russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy that you didn’t find, or Russians lied to Steele,” Gaetz fired back.

“Now, if Russians were lying to Steele to undermine our confidence in our duly elected president, that would seem to be precisely your purview, because you stated in your opening that the organizing principle was to fully and thoroughly investigate Russia’s interference. But you weren’t interested in whether Russians are interfering.”

Gaetz said he couldn't stress this portion enough: By Mueller’s own statement he was charged with looking into Russia’s interference with the election. How can he then state the very document that launched the investigation, and directly involved Russia, could not be part of his Russian investigation? 

Also, his decision to completely ignore Michael Steele in his investigation is made more ridiculous by his treatment of Manafort. The guilty plea, and surrounding indictments of Manafort, involve his personal business dealings and financial illegalities taking place years before the election. How those details were within Mueller’s purview, but the very details behind the founding document were not defies common sense.

Gaetz, a lawyer with a practiced courtroom presence he used effectively during his years in the Florida House, made the defining charge. “If Steele was lying," Gaetz said, "you should have charged him with lying.” 

Mueller once again resorted to his standard claim that anything involving Steele was "not in his purview." This was a transparently neutered claim, because Mueller did not launch a fresh investigation. He took over an existing FBI investigation; therefore, attempting to pass the responsibility to the FBI is invalid. Mueller took control of their prior work, and as such, Steele was perfectly in his purview.

“So it’s not in your purview to look into whether or not Steele is lying,” responded Gaetz. “It’s not in your purview to look into whether or not anti-Trump Russians were lying to Steele.” 

This effectively illustrated the underlying problems with Mueller’s two-year quest and showed how he failed to come up with anything substantive regarding coordination. Matt Gaetz managed to stand out on a day when a number of GOP politicians had strong performances.

See for yourself the Gaetz-Mueller exchange below:

Even usually Democrat-supportive major TV networks and mainstream media sources admitted that at the very least, the Dems lost face.

Said MSNBC’s Ari Melber: "The Mueller hearing 'didn’t land' where Democrats were hoping. I think at the end of the day there was a lot of talk about today being the time people would hear some of the stories which I would argue objectively are concerning or shocking in this report. I'm not sure that at the end of the day Bob Mueller was the one voicing that. Some of the members in the committee did. But he really didn't. And so that leaves, I think, the country watching and saying we've been waiting for this, what was this that we just saw? If it was an interesting discussion, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe these are complex issues. Ultimately, it didn't land where the Democrats said they were hoping, at least for part one on obstruction.”  

Said ABC News’ Katherine Faulders: “Democrats also hoped Mueller would read some of his report to ‘bring the report to life’ so the American public could hear the words of the report from Mueller himself. That’s not happening. Mueller hasn’t read it when asked to.”

Washington Post Reporter Paul Kane said on Twitter, “No Mincing Words Here: Bad Morning For Pro Impeachment Crowd. They Needed A Bravo Testimony ... That Hasn’t Happened So Far. Many hours remain. Let’s see.”

ABC’s News’ Terry Moran: “Impeachment’s over. I don't think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for your members to bring forward what will lose in the American public. The problem with Mueller’s testimony on this issue is, he had to carry the ball for them some way. At least by being a vigorous, strong, rock-solid prosecutor. He looked like someone who slowed a step or two.”

Adam Reilly, WGBH News tweeted this: “It’s Early But The GOP Is Absolutely Smoking [Democrats]. If the Dems can’t find someone with the common sense to retool and let Mueller push back against Republican claims that his investigation was a miscarriage of justice, they’ll lose far more from this hearing than they gain. It’s early but the GOP is absolutely smoking them.”

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

Comments

I'm getting the feeling Mueller is not suffering from ANY type of "old man's feeble mindedness" whatsoever. No he's sly like the old fox in the box trap. It's all a show by Mueller and it's working. Even conservative commentators are believing 'Ole Sly Fox Mueller and seem to want to allow the "Old War Horse" to go quietly out to pasture. Come on people...it's just an act by Old Sly Fox Mueller to keep you all from nailing his lying hide to the side of the barn like he deserves. Dummies!!!

Looks Like the Entire Mueller Probe Was Based on Fraud - https://www.independentsentinel.com/looks-like-the-entire-mueller-probe-was-based-on-fraud/

And all of this simply for no other reason then that Hillary lost when the lying fake news claimed she had a 98% likelihood of winning and her followers all took the bait hook, line & sinker. The dream of a communist dictatorship will have to wait at least until President Trump leaves the White House.

Baahaahaa, Gaetz is a tool just like you...

I was disturbed, disgusted and dismayed by the way some Trump Republicans treated Muller. Even more so that Republicans seem to be ignoring the national security implications of President Trump's actions and attitude. That a candidate is not only willing but eager to accept help in an election by a foreign adversary should be disturbing to all Americans. And I don't excuse the Clinton campaign's use of Fusion GPS. It's immoral and should be illegal. That Lawmakers on both sides aren't doing anything in this matter is wrong. Vote the bums out!

Except for the fact that Mueller found zero evidence of what you allege. There is no proof of coordination taking place.

Rep. Gaetz is picking up where former Rep. Desantis left off. Both are good Trump soldiers who will do whatever the President tells them to do. We had a very successful and mostly united Republican Party in Florida before Trump took the wrecking ball to the party. Other Republicans in the hearing said equally stupid things in the hearings yesterday such as calling decorated Marine veteran Robert Mueller un-American. They win the support of the Trump fanatics but a majority of American Republicans believe Mueller conducted a fair investigation. This was no witch hunt, no hoax and most certainly did not exonerate Trump from obstruction of justice.

The "obstruction of justice" talk is simply anger by political opponents that President Trump was not found guilty of anything. And actually he WAS exonerated by virtue of the fact that he was not proven guilty. That's how we do it in America. The presumption of innocence holds until, and unless, the person is proven guilty. So when the books close without a guilty finding, the person is exonerated EACH TIME and EVERY TIME.

So in your world, Trump can be indicted and convicted of a crime while President, correct, because otherwise your argument is totally without merit (besides, your argument just failed Logic 101 . . . not to mention, Law 101 - go talk to someone who's actually educated) . . . . . . . not understanding the current view of Republicans and the Justice Department that the President can't be charged with a federal crime . . . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . . .

That was a rather stupid comment.

Experience dictates: Never get between the FBI and a News or Video camera, (the FBI will leave footprints on your back); The FBI upper echelon and bureaucracy is WORSE...where neophyte lawyers, accountants, and linguists are 'annointed' as "Agents". "Police Investigator" experienced law enforcement is not as pervasive there as you would likely imagine...

GREAT PREPARATION, Matt! You burst a few balloons for sleepy- Jughead. Nice to know you are doing your homework!

Five great things about Matt Gaetz: first, he looks like Charles Duerning, Jr; second, he's a Republican who believes in climate change and says history will harshly judge the deniers; third, he has a running feud with Rick Scott; fourth, he did a pretty good job labelling John Dean 'the ghost of Christmas past' during Dean's testimony, and ….OK, so maybe there's only 4.

I predict Matt will be nominated President before President #50 "steps up to the plate"... ("Chew on THAT, for a bit",.. "Trolls"!)

“Matt will be nominated President...” now that is funny. Thanks for that C.

How could any patriot take delight in watching that politicized show? Doesn't anyone care what the truth is? Everyone posturing. No one listening. The Dems want only to catch the President and impeach him. The GOP will defend the President no matter how vile (or even criminal) his words or actions. Shame on all of them. What on earth are fair-minded patriotic Americans to do? If we truly want to make America great again, we need to get rid of these people who have no class or dignity or integrity - and certainly don't respect the American people or this country. If the current Administration and Congress are the best we can do, we have to wonder for our future.

Amazing that you can function despite the crippling disease of Stupidity.

Why on earth can't you simply argue your point without resulting to insults? That is not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.

Agreed. We can do better. If you are Republican, vote for William Weld, an authentic conservative. If you are a Democrat, vote for Amy Klobuchar, a pragmatic moderate. Both of these folks are exceptionally bright. Either one would govern in a bipartisan manner. We CAN have our country back.

Yeah, vote for Bill Weld. As Governor of MA he spent more time sitting at a bar stool than he did in the Governor’s office. Last election cycle he was the VP Libertarian candidate, this cycle he’s a Republican. Next cycle don’t be surprised if he’s an Independent. He’s got to keep the campaign contributions coming in, so he can pay his bar tab. Remember Bill Clinton tried to appoint him as ambassador to Mexico. Yeah, vote for Weld. Yikes.

Matt Gaetz is a goon. It's an embarrassment that such an off-the-wall doofus could actually be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. But, then again, there's Donald Trump, too! Egads! The inmates have taken over!

My question is do you include “the Squad, Mad Maxine, Cowgirl Wilson, and other dummycraps in your list of doofus?

Was never a fan of senior, but Matt is a bright, headstrong, principled man who takes seriously his role to fight for the little man's interest. He will go far...governor in 2024?

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle! Gruters isn't going to let any Republican but himself be a candidate for governor - in 2026.

Talk about delusional...…….. Chump is now looking forward to going to trail and likely jail on at least 4 felony counts of obstruction of justice after he loses election..………Notice how unhinged he became when a reporter asked him about it?...………. Chump called it fake news but most honest legal people see it as a slam dunk with lots of evidence....Over 1k former US prosecutors signed a letter saying so. ………...And just one of multiple trails coming up as he loves to break the law so much and several are criminal...……..;^)

If there's a Democratic administration in place, no question Trump is going to be tried on the criminal obstruction counts enumerated in the Mueller report after he's out of office. Additionally, there are also the campaign finance crimes that Cohen has already pled guilty to - PLUS - the State of New York will definitely change him with multiple counts of state tax fraud. Trump will definitely be spending the last of his days (and maybe his money) trying to stay out of prison - but - like Cosby, Weinstein, Epstein, et. al. - he won't succeed. Don Trumpolini will end up dying in the slammer just like Gotti!

Ha Ha........Ha Ha.......by the time our Great Nation gets over you Democrat crap peddlers it will be the year 2045 and even if you evil baxterds do gain your "Democratic administration in place" by then you will have to dig Trump up from his grave outside the palatial Trump Presidential Library to get him in your Kangaroo Court !!!! Ha Ha......Ha Ha.......Ha Ha.....

.....Ha Ha.....Ha Ha.....Ha Ha.....

Once in a while - if you can - you should try to come up with something cogent to say. And, if you can, maybe you should try to write it in what could be construed as something akin to normal English. (???)

Enjoy your ration of moldy potatoes and vodka on your Russian Troll Farm ...Ha Ha

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