In case this whole affair wasn’t crazy-making enough already, Robert Mueller’s second round of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee went meta, with Republicans pulling up references to CNN’s coverage today of his earlier Judiciary Committee testimony.
During Ohio Republican Rep. Michael Turner’s turn, he produced a bunch of law books to drive home the point that Mueller’s office was not charged with the power to “exonerate” anyone.
Turner went on to cite a Washington Post story from Tuesday, declaring, “This reporter can’t be exonerated, Mr. Mueller, you can’t be exonerated.”
“This is the headline on all of the news channels while you were testifying today,” Turner said, turning to gesture to a visual aide showing a CNN panel running with the chyron “MUELLER: TRUMP WAS NOT EXONERATED.” He went on to keep scolding Mueller, telling the former FBI director that the word “colored” the entire investigation.
“You have no more power to declare him exonerated than you have the power to declare him Anderson Cooper,” he continued.
The line of inquiry focused on a single line in Mueller’s nearly 450-page report where the special counsel’s office concluded they couldn’t conclude that Trump didn’t obstruct justice: “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Confusing, right! That’s where we are.