/Saturday night owls open thread: Robert Mueller should very much want to testify in public

Saturday night owls open thread: Robert Mueller should very much want to testify in public

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Cody Fenwick at Alternet writes—Robert Mueller is acting like a precious flower. It’s a huge mistake:

Democrats in Congress are eager to have Special Counsel Robert Mueller testify publicly. But Mueller is dragging his feet — and making a big mistake.

New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee, gave his most extensive comments on the negotiations around Mueller’s pending testimony thus far Thursday night on Rachel Maddow’s show.

night owls

He said the Mueller is reluctant to testify in public because he “doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.” Instead, Mueller would like to testify to the committee privately. “He envisions himself, correctly, as a man of great rectitude and apolitical,” Nadler said.

My first reaction to this was simple: Tough. When Mueller was running the investigation, it was up to him to decide how public he wanted to be. Now that it’s over, if Democrats in Congress want to call him for a hearing that they use to further political talking points, that’s their choice. Mueller doesn’t get to be the ultimate arbiter of what is and isn’t political. And he’s not a flower that will wilt with too much exposure.

But there’s also a more reasoned, thoughtful argument that I think could persuade Mueller to testify publicly, even despite his hesitations. He had the discretion and wisdom to keep his head down and remain silent during the Russia investigation, a decision that gave him both a mystique and an above-it-all respectability while the president was attacking him that surely worked to his benefit. This was a smart, prudent move that served to preserve his credibility.

That credibility, however, only matters if people have the chance to hear and believe what he has to say. Almost no one in the country who doesn’t write about or do politics for a living is going to read a 400-page report. Few would read the transcript of a closed-door hearing.

But if Mueller actually gets the chance to describe his work, defend it from combative Republicans, explicate its most important parts when pressed by Democrats, and explain exactly why he made the choices he did, people will listen.

It will be a spectacle. But he will largely be in control, and he can stick to the facts he wants to stick to. […]

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[Full Disclosure: That’s ^^^ my Congresswoman.]

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2005FBI: Newsweek was right:

Turns out Newsweek was wrong about its source, right about the story.

The American Civil Liberties Union released the memo and a series of other FBI documents it obtained from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet,” the FBI agent wrote.

“The guards dance around when the detainees are trying to pray. The guards still do these things,” the FBI agent wrote.

Darn it. Now who can the wingers blame for setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq?