Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Said in his new book that it was “heartbreaking” to witness Robert Mueller’s mental state during his 2019 testimony on the Russian investigation.
Mueller, 77, was appointed special adviser in May 2017 to oversee an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. In July 2019, Mueller testified about his findings, which determined that the government Russian had interfered with the election but that there was no evidence of Russian collusion with the then-candidate Trump.
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Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in his new book, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” that he regretted pushing Mueller’s testimony after seeing it from his own eyes.
“It was heartbreaking to watch Mueller, this person I admired so much, struggling to answer some of the most basic questions,” Schiff wrote. “Even on a bad day, Mueller had been able to do better than ninety-nine percent of the witnesses I had heard in my decades of public service.
“But it wasn’t the Bob Mueller I knew,” he continued. “Two years had made a striking change, and I suddenly understood not only her own reluctance to testify, but also the protective instincts of her dedicated staff. If I had known how much he had changed, I would not have continued his testimony with such vigor. in fact, I wouldn’t have sued him at all. “
Mueller’s mental acuity was called into question after his testimony, in which he struggled to keep up with some of the questions and couldn’t remember key facts from his investigation.
“We heard from people very close to Bob Mueller, who found him a different person, a changed person, after two years of this investigation,” Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig told CNN in January 2020.
In their book, “A Very Stable Genius,” Leonnig and his co-author Phil Rucker wrote that officials were concerned about Mueller’s health, and that when former Attorney General William Barr met Mueller before his publication was released. report, Mueller read his notes, and his “hands were shaking as he held the paper.” His voice was also shaky, ”the Washington Examiner reported.
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Schiff was recently asked if he thought Mueller was suffering from cognitive decline and if that should have disqualified him from conducting the investigation.
“I can’t answer that,” he told NPR in an October 10 interview. “I immediately understood why his staff had been so protective and why they were so reluctant to have him testify. And I immediately said to our members, “We need to cut down on our questions. We cannot ask for narrative responses. We need to be very specific in what we are asking for. We need to have the page references of the report ready. ‘ And it was painful, honestly, it was painful. And if I had known, I wouldn’t have pushed for his testimony. “