About the time I hit “Publish” this morning, Robert Mueller will be taking his oath and beginning to testify, and a lot of pundits and cartoonists will either look like prophets or nitwits, depending on what happens next.
I would add that most cartoonists facing a seventh game of the World Series or an election will do two cartoons, so that whatever the outcome, their editors can run the one that fits.
But, then, those things happen late at night and most papers these days are published in the morning.
Marshall Ramsey takes an approach that is both safe and penetrating, because he’s not anticipating what Mueller will say but, rather, focusing on the Attorney General’s attempt to keep him from saying it.
Barr may well be the most partisan AG in my lifetime. Both John Mitchell and John Ashcroft advanced strong political viewpoints that were in alignment with the presidents they served, but my off-the-cuff memory is that Mitchell resigned the post and became Nixon’s campaign manager before he became outwardly partisan, while Ashcroft was simply an SOB without being W’s puppydog.
I’m not the first to note that Barr and his boss seem to confuse the White House Counsel and the Attorney General, but Ramsey makes the point at a moment when it matters a great deal.
And Steve Sack echoes it with a little more element of foolishness and humor.
Which is even funnier when you realize that, this time around, the answer to “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” is a vague shrug.
Dear Leader went ballistic on Twitter when he discovered that Mueller will have an attorney sitting next to him during the hearing. As if he’d never seen that before. Or needs his dosage adjusted.
Well, it’s entirely possible he never has watched a Congressional hearing on television.
But Fox & Friends will be pre-empted for these hearings, so there’ll be a little broccoli on his plate for once.
And, on a related note, RJ Matson has some fun with the President’s claim to have read the report.
Trump has gotten to the point where, if he says it’s a sunny day, everyone grabs an umbrella, but this particular claim got laughs because nobody believes he’s ever read much of anything, and the debate is whether he has a reading disability or is just lazy.
In any case, he hasn’t read the Constitution, or, at least, he didn’t absorb what it says, since he told a group of conservative students ““Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president, but I don’t even talk about that.”
Not the only thing he said in his speech that just wasn’t so, but the only one that leaves you scratching your head and wondering if he believes it himself.
Matson came back to the drawingboard for a second helping and this seems like another that he won’t regret after Mueller’s appearance.
The issue of “Have you read it?” has become a bit troublesome, because people are adding “every word,” which makes it kind of silly.
We had a running joke in my department in college, such that if a question came up about something in the last two-thirds of a book, someone would say, “Well, now, that’s an unfair question …” and everyone around the seminar table would chuckle.
Before answering it, but, yes, a few voices dropped out of the conversation at that point.
Asking people if they read every word is nonsensical, since it would include every footnote.
Presumably, the congresscritters Mueller will face have access to a copy of the report that doesn’t put big black bars over some of the “every words,” but, even so, nobody reads every word of anything in the non-fiction category.
You skim through and read the parts that seem interesting or relevant or that are apt to come up in seminar or in, say, a Congressional hearing.
Pat Bagley looks into his crystal ball and wisely, I think, predicts that Mueller will not elaborate on the evidence but is likely to throw the whole thing back in Congress’s lap, as he did in the report.
And that Congress will respond by dithering.
It would be kind of fun if Mueller ran off the rails and started laying things out in unmistakable terms, citing chapter and verse of the illegal actions of the president, because that would really force Congress to do something ferchrissake.
I doubt they’re anticipating that, however.
There is that old bit of wisdom, “If you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the rabbi.”
Mueller being less a rabbi and more an enlightened quizmaster, as depicted here by Brian Slyngstad, and anyone who approaches today’s hearings expecting to find the answers plainly laid out is — I predict — going to be disappointed.
We shall see what we see — and, by the time you read this, we may have already seen it.
Well, I fully expect to be back tomorrow with very little changed, but, then again, I’ve been wrong before.
One can always hope.
On a mostly unrelated matter
Signe Wilkinson is apparently prowling around somewhere nearby, because she offers this sketch of what our border looks like when there are mostly white folks on the other side, and, yes, that’s what it looks like.
I’ve even crossed it illegally while researching the Fenian invasions of Canada for a Sunday cover story.
I had been on the Eccles Hill side, where the local militia had faced down the Irish forces, then started home and, when I got to the official border crossing, the customs guy asked if I’d seen the bullet hole in the farmer’s door.
So I circled around to the American side and found the farmer’s great-great-grandson, who told me the rest of the story.
And, yes, I wandered back and forth across the border there a couple of times.
Deport me, Dear Leader, for I have sinned.