Cognitive abilities of prominent Washington leader questioned
Cognitive decline has been a topic of discussion regarding Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
But long before the 2020 campaign, it was the cognitive condition of special counsel Robert Mueller that raised alarm in Washington.
Investigative journalist and commentator Byron York wrote in the Washington Examiner that the political world was “stunned” on July 24, 2019, when Mueller testified before the House and Senate.
“It was not anything Mueller said that shocked observers — it was his demeanor. The 74-year-old special counsel appeared confused at times. He sometimes had difficulty answering the most basic questions. He had difficulty forming complex sentences,” York said.
At the time, former Obama aide David Axelrod observed that Mueller “does not appear as sharp” as he did in his previous appearances before Congress.
Chris Wallace of Fox News called Mueller’s appearance “a disaster for the Democrats.”
However, York documented, President Trump’s legal team was not surprised.
They had, he reported, gotten a disturbing look at Mueller’s condition a year earlier, in 2018, at a meeting just after Rudy Giuliani joined Trump’s defense team.
The discussion at the meeting included “the longstanding opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted.”
“But Mueller could not recall it. The old Mueller, of course, would have known all about it. But on that day in April, the Mueller at the meeting could not remember. It was, to say the least, extraordinary that he could not discuss something so basic to the case,” York explained.
That was the last time the Trump team met with Mueller.
York noted Mueller’s staff “built a protective wall around him.”
After the April 2018 meeting, no one from the Trump team could see Mueller or talk to him on the phone. When Trump lawyers called with a concern they wanted to address with Mueller, a top aide would listen, make some notes and say, “We’ll take it to Bob.”
York explained: “In 2019, as the release of the Mueller report neared, others saw reason for concern. Attorney General William Barr, an old friend of Mueller’s, knew there was a problem. On March 5, 2019, Mueller and a few top aides went to the Justice Department to preview the report. Seeing Mueller, whose hands were trembling and voice was weak, Barr and his top aides were ‘taken aback,’ wrote the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig in their book ‘A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America.'”
Democrats demanded after the report was released that Mueller testify, but Mueller “clearly did not want to appear.”
York, promoting his book “Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment’s Never-Ending War on Trump,” said it was critical for the Mueller team to portray him as the leader, because he had hired a long list of prosecutors who had donated to Democrats. And when Trump complained about the team’s left-leaning politics, Mueller’s defenders insisted he was “in charge” and calling it “straight down the middle.”
Giuliani recalled the trust John Dowd and the first legal team put in Mueller, York reported.
“Dowd had a lot of faith in Mueller and felt that Mueller was telling him the truth,” Giuliani said. “I don’t think he calculated the fact that Mueller was working with half a deck and a bunch of scumbags were running the operation.”
The Gateway Pundit noted Trump was investigated for 675 days by Mueller and despite 2,800 subpoenas and 500 witness interviews, the counsel’s office found no evidence “that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate” conspired or “knowingly coordinated” with Russians during the 2016 campaign.”
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