Former special counsel Robert Mueller will appear in Congress this week to testify for two hours about the report he authored on the case of Russian collusion.
The hearing is set for Wednesday, though Mueller has said that he won't have any additional information other than what is in his report. A Washington Post report used examples of past Mueller testimony to outline what can be anticipated. The reality, however, is that regardless of whether Mueller sticks to the report or not, he'll deliver enough to put the president in a difficult situation.
"For anybody hoping he's going to provide new information or evidence against the president, I think many people will be very disappointed," The Post quoted John Pistole, who served as Mueller's former deputy. "And then on the other side of the aisle, some may be disappointed to find out that he's not a demagogue of the left."
But that's not what Mueller needs to do to make Trump's life difficult. Trump has gone above and beyond keeping his staff and former staff from testifying in a public hearing. The president knows that once Americans see and hear what his aides did, he's in trouble. Clips of those hearings will be spread across social media and appear on every website. They'll be used in super PAC ads and fill the news cycle until he can distract with another racist rant.
It's for that reason that if Mueller only sticks to the words of his report, he'll still do more than enough damage to Trump. The overwhelming majority of Americans haven't read the Mueller report. If they're viewers of Fox News, they likely believe that Trump was fully exonerated, because that's the lie the overwhelming number of shows on network reported. The hosts who did tell the truth, were either ignored or attacked.
Pistole told The Post that he expects Mueller will be "as unresponsive as possible, while telling the truth. I think his first approach will be, 'Read the report and form your own conclusions.' He's no longer a government employee, and he can tell them to pound sand, not that he would use those words."
All members must do is ask Mueller to explain a passage in lay-terms so Americans that are not lawyers can understand it. Another way officials can get answers from Mueller is to ask "yes or no" if he exonerated Trump and if he would have recommended an indicted Trump if not for the Office of Legal Counsel opinion that a president can't be indicted.
They could also ask if Mueller included the ten examples of obstruction of justice in his report to encourage Congress to act. They could even ask if there were more than ten examples and he simply kept the list at ten. Further, they could approach why Mueller didn't push for Trump to be interviewed in person.
The Mueller testimony won't result in the president being marched out of the White House in handcuffs, but that doesn't mean it is a waste of time. If Mueller can reveal his report to the American people outside of the legal-speak in which it's written, it might change political opinion on the issue of impeachment. If Congress has more cover from the public, they could likely vote to begin impeachment proceedings.
Read the full backstory on Mueller's previous testimony at The Washington Post.