President Donald Trump’s Chaos Strategy was working overtime last week with a series of typical topical tyrannical Twitter tirades. He tore into Robert Mueller then pivoted to energize his base by tossing out attacks against anybody with the temerity to criticize the administration’s inhumane immigrant incarceration policies. It was a week where the vitriol spewed like a pinwheel of bile in a wind tunnel.
A Democratic aide claimed Mueller’s testimony was integral because “If people haven’t read the book, they’ll watch the movie” but not even Stephen Spielberg could have saved this production. A motorcycle chase might have helped, but probably not. Some killer robot CGI... maybe.
It’s easy to see why the former special prosecutor prefers the darkness. Although this was his 89th testimony in front of Congress, his performance was so uninspired, the reluctant witness seemed to nod out himself a couple of times along with many members of Congress and most of the viewing public.
A few Republicans couldn’t even summon the energy to pepper him with antagonistic questions. But it was the performance of Mueller himself that set the tone. Dial tone. The man is stiffer than Mitch McConnell wearing buttless chaps on a gay pride parade float.
One problem is Mueller’s about as vindictive as a throw rug. They sent a Boy Scout to take out a vampire. The Democrats needed Van Helsing and got Dudley Do-Right. They fired up the Bat Signal and Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred showed up.
Trump complained Mueller shouldn’t be allowed another bite of the apple, ignoring the precedent established by Republicans when they took multiple bites out of every apple in the Benghazi barrel.
But the 74-year-old’s testimony was exactly what anybody who had paid attention to his report or press conference could have predicted. He takes straight and narrow to levels previously unheard of in mathematics.
Every question posed resulted in his stating he either couldn’t or wouldn’t answer. Others he didn’t answer. Hard to figure what Democrats expected: that he would suddenly remember a smoking gun under a couch cushion or be seized by the irresistible urge to do the right thing or be struck by a bolt of religious righteousness? They threw up a Hail Mary but the quarterback fumbled the snap.
The one thing Mr. Mueller did do was reiterate over and over that the Russian government was responsible for a sweeping and systemic effort to interfere in our election for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected over Hillary Clinton. And not only will they do it again, but “they’re doing it as we sit here.” Sparking Congress to immediately spring into action to do nothing.
Senate Democrats proposed two pieces of legislation to provide election interference protection but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called them partisan and announced he would not allow either to receive a vote earning him the viral sobriquet, Moscow Mitch.
Then President Trump turned up the distraction meter, tweeting that Elijah Cummings’ Maryland district is “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” after earlier encouraging four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from. Responding to accusations of racism, Trump said he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, meaning it must all be packed in his soft tissue.
And he’s got a lot of soft tissue.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin.