WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After a great deal of anticipation and hours of testimony, it is unclear what impact the Mueller hearings will have on public opinion.
- Among North Carolina lawmakers on Capitol Hill reaction to the former special counsel’s testimony fell predictably along party lines.
- Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, a key Trump ally on Capitol Hill, labeled the hearings a “flop” for his colleagues across the aisle.
- Meanwhile, Rep. GK Butterfield, D-1st District, doubled-down on his call to launch an impeachment inquiry.
Among North Carolina lawmakers on Capitol Hill, however, reaction to the former special counsel’s testimony fell predictably along party lines.
Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, a key Trump ally on Capitol Hill, labeled the hearings a “flop” for his colleagues across the aisle.
“Hopefully this puts an end to it,” said Meadows, R-11th District. “It’s not the narrative that the Democrats want. I think when we look at Mueller’s responses, it doesn’t indicate that he has a strong grasp of what’s in the report.”
In addition to wanting to drill down on potential cases of obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report, some Democrats had hoped the hearings could help clarify the public record about the report’s findings - and in at least one way it did.
Mueller explicitly dismissed the president’s claim that the investigation exonerated him.
Asked if his report and investigation “actually totally” exonerated the president, Mueller replied, “No.”
Meadows and other Republicans, meanwhile, wanted Mueller to explain how his investigation got started - believing that it was slanted against President Donald Trump from the outset.
To those questions, Mueller provided few answers.
No North Carolina lawmakers were on either of the two committees that got to question Mueller.
Did the hearing help build the case for impeachment?
Meadows and other Republicans said it did not.
Meanwhile, Rep. GK Butterfield, D-1st District, doubled-down on his call to launch an impeachment inquiry.
“This president has engaged in a pattern of bizarre behavior that calls into question his mental fitness to continue as Commander-in-Chief,” he said.
Republican members of the delegation argued it was time to move on and put the Mueller investigation behind them.
“It’s time to get on to some real issues, like passing the USMCA for example, which would help to further grow our economy and benefit Americans all across the country,” wrote Rep. Ted Budd, R-13th District.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, said she did not even watch the hearing.
“There are a lot of things the Judiciary Committee could be working on that it isn’t working on,” Foxx said.
During the second hearing of the day - before the House Intelligence Committee -- Mueller emphasized that 2016 was not a once and done deal. Russia, he said, will continue to try to meddle and interfere in American elections.
Butterfield said that is something Congress needs to focus on.
“The American people deserve to be protected,” he said. “That’s what this investigation is all about, not only holding the president accountable but also making sure that Russia does not again influence elections.”