Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a halting testimony last week during hearings that were supposed to be make-or-break for Democrats trying to push the public towards President Trump’s impeachment, but a Democrat ad-maker has turned it into a flashy new ad in time for the Democrat debates.
Democrat ad-maker Mark Putnam, with funding from anti-Trump billionaire Tom Steyer, has turned Mueller’s answers into a 30-second ad that will air Tuesday and Wednesday, as first reported by Politico.
The ad campaign will cost in the “mid-six figures” to air on CNN and MSNBC before and after the second Democrat presidential debate in Detroit.
Politico got a sneak peek of the ad. It starts with a frame of the committee room and the words, “WHAT MUELLER SAID.”
The ad then distills Mueller’s responses — which during the hearing were slow and unclear — down to quick one-word answers.
In the ad, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) asks Mueller: “What about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?”
“No,” Mueller responds.
Rep. Val Demings asks Mueller: “Isn’t it fair to say that the president’s written answers show that he wasn’t always being truthful?”
“Generally,” Mueller says.
“You believe that you could charge the president of the United States with obstruction after he left office?” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) asks. “Yes,” Mueller says.
“The campaign welcomed the Russian help, did they not?” Rep. Adam Schiff asks. “Yes,” Mueller responds.
“Then they lied to cover it up?” Schiff asks. “Generally, that’s true,” Mueller responds.
The ad obscures a performance by Mueller that was generally considered by both sides of the aisle to be lackluster, and even a disaster for Democrats who had hoped that he would bring his final report to life.
His seeming unfamiliarity with parts of his report raised questions as to whether his staff had written the report and he merely served as a figurehead.
The report did not find sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy by the Trump campaign with Russia, and did not make a determination as to whether Trump obstructed justice.
Mueller early on during the hearing with the House Judiciary Committee suggested that he would have charged Trump if there were not Justice Department legal guidance against indicting sitting presidents.
However, when he appeared in the next hearing with the House Intelligence Committee, he walked back those remarks.
Democrats had planned a social media blitz to accompany Mueller’s hearing, but there was little sign of it during the hearing.
Here is the new Democrat-produced ad: