‘Instead of breathing life into the report, he sucked the life out of the report…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s widely panned congressional hearings on Wednesday, many saw his testimony as ‘frail’ and damaging to partisan Democrats’ impeachment efforts.
Still, some on the far left attempted to move the goal posts yet again—including comedian Stephen Colbert of the eponymous CBS “Late Show,” who hosted “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace in what appeared to have been a pre-scheduled interview.
Although Wallace had come on to discuss a documentary about his fabled father, Mike Wallace—a longtime CBS correspondent for shows like “60 Minutes”—Colbert first insisted on launching invective about the hearing at the Fox News representative.
One of the first to criticize Mueller’s performance earlier in the day, Wallace’s analysis had, in turn, been recognized by President Donald Trump via Twitter.
“This has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.” Chris Wallace @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2019
“So, is Fox News’s motto, ‘We report and decide before the thing’s over’?” Colbert asked snarkily.
Wallace defended his statement, noting that it was an accurate assessment of how the testimony went.
“There was a break in the hearing, and we were asked for our reaction—and let me simply say, nothing in your monologue disproved that description,” he told Colbert.
Wallace went on to observe that the stated purpose of the hearing—including by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the respective chairmen of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees—was to give new life to the dry, 400-plus-page Mueller Report.
When released in March, the report was touted by Trump as an exoneration against false claims of Russian collusion and other criminal activity.
However, partisan Democrats, who determined well before the report’s release that they would continue to investigate, have since claimed it did the opposite, offering them their long-sought justification to impeach without actually saying so.
Wallace quoted the House Democrats, who had promised a public television spectacle as recently as Sunday: “They kept saying—the quote was, ‘People aren’t going to read the book, they’ll watch the movie,’” he reminded Colbert.
But rather than meeting those over-hyped expectations, it fell pitifully flat, Wallace said.
“[I]nstead of breathing life into the report, [Mueller’s testimony] sucked the life out of the report,” he said.
Wallace added that it may have proven harmful to Democrats’ efforts by conveying that Mueller did not seem to know very much about his own two-year investigation.
“The movie was a snore,” Wallace said, “and part of it was, frankly, because Robert Mueller … didn’t seem in charge—I think it raised questions as to how much he actually ran the investigation.”
Colbert at first dismissed Wallace’s criticisms as “performance notes” that didn’t diminish the substance of the hearings.
However, Wallace countered by again stating that a rehashing of the claims outlined in the report had never been the aim of the hearings.
“I don’t think they were more shocking today than they were when the report was released in March,” he said.
As the late-night host became increasingly hostile and confrontational, interrupting the esteemed journalist and talking over his responses, Wallace pointed out that Colbert wasn’t exactly a disinterested onlooker.
“We all talk about our politics being too tribal, right?” Wallace asked. “… You represent the anti-Trump tribe, and so do a lot of people in this audience.”
Colbert denied the label and turned the statement around on him.
“I’m in the journalist tribe,” Wallace responded, “which is sitting there, calling the shots each pitch as it comes in—is that a ball, is it a strike?”
Wallace pointed to his evenhanded approach in his own interviews and his reputation for criticizing Trump officials, which has led many to question and speculate on his personal politics.
“And you say, ‘Well, these are performance/theater/critic notes.’ The fact is, that’s what this was all about,” Wallace said.
“If all you care about is the report, the report was there, in black and white, two months ago,” he continued. “The whole reason that they had the hearing was to breathe life into the report. … They didn’t breathe life into the report today.”