Nadler, misstating Mueller: What happens to a society when gross, apparently willful misstatement becomes the cultural norm?
We've been moving in that direction for the past several decades. In fairness, the liberal and mainstream worlds only began to notice the problem when Donald J. Trump took this behavior to the point of apparent insanity.
(For a good part of that time, it was in fact the mainstream press which drove the incessant misstating.)
At present, the aforementioned Trump mixes incessant insult with constant wild misstatement. Yesterday, Jerrold Nadler seemed to decide that it was his turn to play the blatant misstatement game.
Ladies and gentlemen, sad! Nadler stepped to the microphone with his comrades arrayed behind him. Early in his heroic statement, he heroically offered this:
NADLER (7/26/19): ...Director Mueller's testimony removed all doubt. He told us that Donald Trump obstructed justice and abused his office by tampering with witnesses...He told us in a remarkable exchange with Mr. Lieu that, but for the Department of Justice policy prohibiting [him] from doing so, he would have indicted President Trump. Indeed, it is clear that any other citizen of this country who has behaved as this president has would have been charged with multiple crimes.To view the full statement, click here.
Let's start with this. During Wednesday's testimony, did Mueller actually say that Trump obstructed justice?
In fact, Mueller has said, right from the start, that he and his team never attempted to form or state a judgment regarding that matter. Everybody knows that!
Nadler was already taking liberties at that point in his remarks. But assuming even modest competence on Nadler's part, his statement concerning that "remarkable exchange with Mr. Lieu" can only be seen as a (truly remarkable) willful gross misstatement.
As everyone knows, the "remarkable exchange" with Rep. Lieu took place during Wednesday's morning session. In the exchange, Mueller seemed to voice agreement with a provocative assertion by Lieu—an assertion which went beyond anything Mueller had previously said.
Especially at CNN, pundits got very excited. But as everyone knows, at the start of Wednesday's afternoon session, Mueller explicitly corrected the record concerning what Lieu had said.
As everyone knows, this is what Mueller said at the start of the afternoon session. Did we mention the fact that everyone knows that Mueller explicitly said this?
MUELLER (7/24/19): I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said, and I quote, "You didn’t charge the president because of the OLC opinion."According to his own statement, Mueller had erred when he seemed to agree with Lieu's representation. At the very start of the afternoon session, he explicitly corrected the record, before proceeding to address the first question he'd been asked.
That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.
That's what Mueller explicitly said—and everyone knows that he said it! But Nadler apparently liked the misstatement more than the correction. In yesterday's statement, he went ahead and acted as if the correction had never occurred.
Trump has been a con man, a sleazeball and a grifter for his entire life. He's highly practiced at the skill of misstating facts. He has a fully developed understanding of the sorts of absurd misstatements he can get people to buy.
Yesterday, Nadler was playing Trump's game. He's likely to fail at this effort.
What happens to a society when deliberate misstatement becomes the norm? Just a guess: Practiced dissemblers—people like Trump—are likely to gain an advantage.
That said, the haplessness of our mainstream and liberal elites has been on vivid display for decades. Yesterday, Nadler was trying to play it tough. Almost surely, this will turn out to be the latest pathetic fail.
One final point, and it's sad:
Fox is explaining this matter today. As best we can tell at this point, no other "news org" is.
Apparently a team effort: Last evening, we watched Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) as she spoke from the Situation Room during the 6 PM hour.
Dean is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. She told Wolf Blitzer this:
DEAN (7/26/19): Keep in mind what's going on here. We have an attorney general who has done the exact same thing that this president has done in plain sight and also behind doors, obstruct from the American people the truth of the report.Sad! After praising Mueller for his honesty, Dean proceeded to misstate what he actually said. Wolf just let it go.
And know that what our investigation will include will be beyond the four corners of that document. What we will be—we will also be looking at, and other committees will be looking at, ongoing violations of the Emoluments Clause, ongoing and previous violations of campaign finance, paying off mistresses days before the election to bury stories. This is extraordinary wrongdoing.
And when I go back to Mr. Mueller, I just want to say something. What an extraordinary American hero, 50 years of service, a biography that is unmatched by anybody. And one of the things that he said that I think was particularly haunting is, what he said, if this were not a sitting president, would you have indicted? Yes.
(Also, "paying off mistresses to bury stories?" How hapless are our leadership groups? So hapless that they now pretend that this is what our elections should be about. Prepare for sexual grifter schemes every fourth November, assuming we still have elections.)
Donald J. Trump is good at this game. These well-practiced losers are not.