Special Counsel head Robert Mueller has received the grilling of a lifetime from Republicans who take issue with his report and complete lack of willingness to discuss the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, and impeachment possibilities. In fact, Mueller spent the first four hours of his testimony simply deferring questioners to his report and various previously-released statements. And that’s when he actually willingly answered the questions, many of which he responded to with “that is beyond my purview.”
Representative Michael Turner wanted to discuss something slightly different than obstruction and collusion, he wanted to talk about “exoneration.”
He opened his questioning by asking Mueller whether he refused to use the word “collusion” in his report because it is not a legal term. After waffling back and forth, Mueller was forced to admit that he could not use the term. Afterward, Turner pressed on his use of “exonerate” at the end of the Mueller report, because – as he proves – nobody has the power to do that. Meaning there was no reason to use the term other than as a dogwhistle to the left-wing media.
Johnson: “I think you put that in there for exactly what I’m gonna discuss next. And that is, so the Washington Post yesterday, when speaking of your report, the article said ‘Trump could not be exonerated of trying to obstruct the investigation itself.’ Trump could not be exonerated. Now that statement is correct, Mr. Mueller, isn’t it in that no-one can be exonerated? The reporter wrote this – this reporter can’t be exonerated. Mr. Mueller, you can’t be exonerated. In fact, in our criminal justice system there is no power or authority to exonerate. Now this is my concern, Mr. Mueller, this is the headline on all of the news channels while you were testifying today: ‘Mueller: Trump was not exonerated.‘ Now Mr. Mueller what you know is this can’t say ‘Mueller: Exonerated Trump,’ because you don’t have the power or authority to exonerate Trump. You have no more power to declare him exonerated than you have the power to declare him Anderson Cooper. So the problem that I have here is, that since there is no-one in the criminal justice system that has that power – the president pardons, he doesn’t exonerate, courts and juries don’t declare innocent, they declare not-guilty, they don’t even declare exoneration – the statement about exoneration is misleading and it’s meaningless. And it colors this investigation – one word out of the entire portion of our report, and it’s a meaningless word that has no legal meaning and it has colored your entire report.”
Effectively, the use of the word “exonerate” has been used by the media to influence public opinion about the report, the investigation, and about Trump in general. Whether that was done knowingly or otherwise, everyone can agree that if it is a “word that has no legal meaning,” then it had no business in the Mueller report. All it did was throw a bone to those who already think Trump is guilty, regardless of evidence.
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