With a stream of mostly “Yes” and “No” “Yup” and “Nope” style answers, Robert Mueller got through the first half of his day in the hot seat by confirming what is in his written report.
No, he did not—as the President has claimed—“completely exonerate” Mr. Trump. No, he did not conclude that there was no obstruction of justice (neither will he say that Mr Trump did do it.) And, no, he did not say that there was no “collusion” with the Russians; he does say that he could prove no outright “conspiracy.”
Mueller leaves it murky, to say the least, as to what he really thinks. Prosecutors are supposed to find facts, apply the law and solve cases—reach conclusions. For whatever reasons, Mueller chose not to completely carry through on all of that when it applies to the President. To say this is not to state or imply criticism. It is to try to analyze where we are now, with what are we left? The answer is “the report,” and whatever if anything Congress intends to do with and about it.
Republican’s spent most of their time criticizing Mueller, his actions and his motives. Democrats heavily praised him and spent a lot of time reading from the report. Whether any of it changed many opinions about the President and what he has and hasn’t done is debatable.
Mueller—already a Marine war hero—had a chance today to play a hero’s role of a difference sort, for one side or the other. He declined, saying in effect, that he isn’t going to carry water for any political side.
He leaves himself and his report for history to judge.