Joe Scarborough tried to rewrite the growing reaction to Robert Mueller's disastrous-for-Dems performance on Wednesday. On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough actually claimed that yesterday was “a very bleak day for House Republicans.”
But ultimately, Scarborough had to concede the undeniable: Mueller's performance was not good and he failed to offer much in the way of new information. This left Scarborough wondering why the Democrats ever called him to testify, citing a New York Times article on Mueller's condition. It stated that his aides wouldn't have been surprised by his "wobbly performance."
A peeved Scarborough complained, "Well, the Democrats obviously had to know this. Jerry Nadler obviously had to know this. Other people scheduling this hearing obviously had to know this." He added, "Mueller’s own staff knew, early on, that he was obviously challenged, whether it was by a medical condition or something else."
NBC reporter Ken Dilanian offered an explanation for the Dems' decision to let Mueller testify. He said that although there had been rumors of an "issue" about Mueller, people close to him "pushed back strongly."
Note: the aide who, at Mueller's request, sat next to him during the hearings was Aaron Zebley. The NYT article cited above indicates just what a key role Zebley played in the investigation, reporting that instead of Mueller, it was Zebley who led most of the team meetings. So who is Zebley? Before joining the investigation, Zebley was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, which a study found to be the "most liberal" of the country's largest law firms. And Zebley's wife, Catharine F. Easterly, is a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed by . . . Barack Obama.
Here's the transcript.
6:22 am EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let me tread very carefully with the next thing I say here. The New York Times reporting that members of Robert Mueller’s own staff knew, early on, that he was obviously challenged, whether it was by a medical condition or something else, and that he was not able to put in the hours that he had been able to put in before, and that things were challenging. And we suspect now, perhaps, that’s why he had an aide next to him the entire time. The Times talking about Mueller's "labored performance" was a departure from his once-fabled stamina.
Well, the Democrats obviously had to know this. Jerry Nadler obviously had to know this. Other people scheduling this hearing obviously had to know this. And I'm just, I'm really surprised if they're overselling this as the movie, the blockbuster movie, and they know that the man is facing apparently some challenges, that they put him in front of the cameras.
Of course, we were all calling for public hearings but we did not know what people close to Robert Mueller knew and what the Democrats knew: that he should not have been in the glare of a public spotlight if he is facing some medical challenge.
. . .
KEN DILANIAN: I think I can speak to Joe’s question. Didn't the Democrats know? I'll tell you: reporters who have been covering this story for the last two years have been hearing for weeks that there was an issue with Robert Mueller. But people close to him pushed back strongly. And I think they did with Democrats as well, and said this is overblown, he’s fine. And I believe that’s why this hearing happened. Because we were all asking ourselves yesterday: why did the Democrats let this happen?