Disappointed MSNBC Blasts Mueller Hearing as a ‘Boring,’ Confused ‘Disaster’

Disappointment. Anger. Sadness. The journalists and hosts at MSNBC on Wednesday alternated between these emotions as it became clear that Robert Mueller’s testimony wasn’t going the way they thought it might. Various network personalities raged at how the hearings were turning into a “boring” “disaster.” 

MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash bluntly concluded, “I thought he was boring, I thought in some cases he was sort of evasive. He didn't want to explain or expand on his rationale. He seemed lost at times.” Bash worried, “I fear that this hearing set back efforts to hold the President accountable for what the President did.” 

MSNBC brought on former Senator Claire McCaskill (MO) to offer the Democratic Party response and she was equally as negative: “Today, he was a witness. And he frankly wasn't a really good witness. Because he declined to answer, by my account, over 100 times.” 

 

 

Co-host Brian Williams openly spoke of liberal disappointment and anger as he branded the Mueller effort a “disaster”: 

Most of the criticism has been in my view, looking at it from the left side of the partisan ledger. The Washington Post write through, which was just published, uses words like “halting, “short” and “clipped.” I’ve been following David Axelrod. “This is delicate to say, but Mueller, whom I deeply respect, has not publicly testified before Congress in at least six years and does not appear as sharp as he was then. The speed dating approach to questions is hard on Mueller.” A lot of Democrats in particular used the D-word and branded this a disaster early on. 

In contrast, the journalists at CNN put on a brave face and cheered the “bombshell” hearings as a “big deal” and “really bad” for Trump. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

MSNBC post-Mueller reaction
7/24/19
12:12 p.m. Eastern

NICOLLE WALLACE: I think there will be a couple of storylines, sort of in this break, that emerged. One, it's undeniable that this performance by Robert Mueller had peaks and valleys.

(....) 

12:15 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator, your findings after watching along with us? 

FORMER SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-Missouri): He said at the beginning “I'm a prosecutor.” And I —  he defined his role at the hearing as a prosecutor. Well, today, he was a witness. And he frankly wasn't a really good witness. Because he declined to answer, by my account, over 100 times. And so it allowed the Republicans to —  once they realized that he was not going to rebut what they said, they got more and more outrageous with what they said about the origins of the investigation, about the makeup of his team. 

Because they knew he was just going to take the punches. I think the Democrats have to be disappointed that he didn't more vigorously defend his process and the team. He did at one point, the only point he got animated and gave a narrative answer, was defending his team. And that you don't ask people you hire as prosecutors, Chuck and I well know. You don't ask them their politics. It would be a wildly inappropriate comment to make in the context of hiring law enforcement. So I think that was probably very disappointing to the Democrats. Because I think they believed he would at least rare up and go, “Wait a minute, this was by the book. This is factual stuff. Do with it what you may, but these are the facts.” 

(....)

12:22 p.m. Eastern

JEREMY BASH:  I have to say, Brian, with all reference for Bob Mueller and his lifetime of career service -- I think the attacks on him were ridiculous and silly — I have to say that far from breathing life into the report, he kind of sucked the life out of the report. I thought he was boring, I thought in some cases he was sort of evasive. He didn't want to explain or expand on his rationale. He seemed lost at times. He was flipping through the report, trying to find passages. I thought it slowed things down. 

I thought it was a very ineffective defense of his own work. I don't think by the way he had to go after anybody or seem partisan or seem like he was doing anything more than that a professional prosecutor would do which was clearly and succinctly  explain the evidence, explain the law and show some passion, show some sense that the president's conduct was concerning. That it violated some sense of what the constitution says a president should do. I fear that this hearing set back efforts to hold the President accountable for what the President did and also hold Russia, ultimately, accountable for what they did. 

WILLIAMS: Indeed. Most of the criticism has been in my view, looking at it from the left side of the partisan ledger. The Washington Post write through, which was just published, uses words like halting short and clipped. I’ve been following David Axelrod. “This is delicate to say, but Mueller, whom I deeply respect, has not publicly testified before Congress in at least six years and does not appear as sharp as he was then. The speed dating approach to questions is hard on Mueller.” A lot of Democrats in particular used the D-word and branded this a disaster early on. 

NB Daily MSNBC Video Robert Mueller Brian Williams Jeremy Bash Claire McCaskill Donald Trump
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