INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller has come to an end and both sides are trying to spin aspects of what the nation saw Wednesday. Mueller said his report did not exonerate President Donald Trump because he wasn’t allowed to make that decision.
"If the Mueller report is the book, the Mueller hearing is the movie," said Adam Wren, a contributing editor for Politico Magazine.
He said Mueller’s testimony can be explained in terms of theatre and substance.
"Refer to the report," said Mueller.
He kept referring lawmakers to the report and in turn, they would read it out loud. This educated the country on exactly what was inside the report.
“Hearing it for the first time for a lot of Hoosiers will be something new,” said Wren.
He said in his opinion, Democrats were off to a slow start.
“However, I think later in the day, we saw lawmakers like Representative Adam Schiff use his time, roughly five minutes to very cleanly, quickly and clinically ask questions that led to answers that were not helpful to the president,” said Wren.
Wren said some things are difficult to combat now.
“The talking point today that there was no collusion, no obstruction was really shot down," he stated.
Some Republicans are still skeptical, criticizing Mueller's memory and quiet, mumbling demeanor.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R) went as far to compare evidence of collusion to the Loch Ness Monster.
"This hearing is political theater. It's a 'Hail Mary' attempt to convince the American people that collusion is real, and it's concealed in the report," said Nunes.
Indiana Rep. Andre Carson got his chance to question Mueller. He concentrated on Paul Manafort’s role in the report. Wren said though his questions were fascinating, it didn’t lead to the kind of definitive answers Carson wanted it to.
But Carson made sure his views about the report were known, “I know enough to say yes, trading political secrets for money with a foreign advisory can leave you vulnerable to blackmail and it certainly represents a betrayal of values,” said Carson.
Overall, Wren says in the final analysis, these hearings didn’t change a lot.
“As with anything in 2019, everything is viewed through partisan lenses,” said Wren.
Just because Trump couldn’t be indicted by the Mueller Report, does not mean he won’t charged once he leaves office, as Mueller acknowledged Wednesday. That’s still yet to be determined.
Trump spoke to the media after the hearings.
He said, in part, "The performance was obviously not very good. He had a lot of problems but what he showed more than anything else is that this whole thing has been three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country.”
Trump followed that statement by saying he thinks Democrats hurt themselves very badly for 2020.
President Trump is on his way to West Virginia. He is expected to deliver remarks at a campaign fundraiser that is closed to the press.