Republicans were loaded for bear today at the morning session of the hearings and while there were many bludgeonings of Robert Mueller whose best response was “not within my purview,” only few were as blistering as the five minutes of time for Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz hammered the unfortunate ex-FBI Director by focusing on the discredited dirty dossier from oppo-research firm Fusion GPS and scummy British spook Christopher Steele.
Gaetz also came out and called a spade a spade: Maybe the reason why there are these discrepancies is that you were biased and wanted to stop President Trump.
Here you can read the transcript:
GAETZ: Director Mueller, can you state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of Russia’s disinformation campaign?
MUELLER: As I said in my opening statement, that part of the case predated me by at least 10 months.
GAETZ: Paul Manafort’s alleged crimes regarding tax evasion preceded you but you didn’t have a problem charging him.
When senator Cornyn asked the Attorney general the exact question I asked you the Attorney general said no, I can’t state that with confidence.
And that’s one of the areas I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative. If something is not entirely speculative it must have some factual basis but you identify no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibility that it was part of the Russia disinformation campaign.
Christopher Steele’s reporting is referenced in your report. Steele reported to the F.B.I. That senior Russian foreign ministry figures along with other Russians told him that there was an — I’m quoting from the Steele dossier extensive evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign team and The Kremlin.
Here is my question. Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele or was he lying to the F.B.I.?
MUELLER: Let me back up and say as I said earlier, with regard to the Steele, that’s beyond my purview.
GAETZ: It is exactly your purview and here is why. Only one of two things is possible. Either Steele made this whole thing up and there were never Russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy or Russians lied to Steele.
If they were lying to Steele in undermining the confidence in the elected president that would be precisely your purview.
You stated in your opening the organizing principle was to investigate Russia’s interference. You weren’t interested whether or not Russians were interested through Steele.
If he was lying you should have charged him. You say nothing about this in your report. Meanwhile you are quite talking about other topics.
You write 3500 words about the June 9 meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russian lawyer. You write on page 103 of your report that the president’s legal team suggested I’m quoting from your report the meeting might have been a setup.
By individuals working with the firm that produced the Steele reporting. I’m going to ask you a very easy question, director Mueller.
On the week of June 9, who did Russian lawyer meet with more frequently, the Trump campaign or Glenn Simpson who was acting as an operative for the democratic national committee?
MUELLER: What’s missing. This is under investigation elsewhere in the Justice Department and if I can finish, sir, if I can finish, sir, consequently it is not within my purview. The department of justice and F.B.I. Should be responsive to questions on this particular issue.
GAETZ: It is absurd to suggest that an operative for the Democrats was meeting with this Russian lawyer the day before and the day after the Trump Tower meeting and yet that’s not something you reference.
Glenn Simpson testified he had dinner the day before and the day after the meeting with the Trump team with this attorney. Do you think Steele was lying?
MUELLER: I’ll say again it is not my others are investigating.
GAETZ: It is not your purview to look into whether or not Steele is lying or anti-Trump Russians are lying and to look at whether or not Glenn Simpson was meeting with the Russians the day before or after when you write about the Trump meeting? How are these decisions guided?
I look at the inspector general’s report citing from page 404 stating page stated Trump is not ever going to be president, right?
Right. Strzok replied no, he is not. We’ll stop it. Also in the inspector general’s report someone identified as attorney number two, this is page 419 replied Hell no and then added viva la resistance. Attorney two in the inspector general’s report and strzok both worked on your team, didn’t they?
MUELLER: Pardon me?
GAETZ: They both worked on your team.
MUELLER: Who else were you talking about?
GAETZ: Attorney number two in the general’s report. Did he work for you?
MUELLER: Peter Strzok worked for me for a period of time, yes.
GAETZ: So did the other guy who said viva ja la resistance. When people associated with Trump lied you threw the book at them.
When Christopher Steele lied nothing. It seems to be that when Glenn Simpson met with Russians, nothing. When the Trump campaign met with Russians 3500 words.
Maybe the reason why there are these discrepancies is that you were biased and wanted to stop Trump.
If you are asking yourself how bad was it, even MSNBC is bemoaning how bad that Mueller’s appearance has turned out.