REPORT: Trump Team Suspected Cognitive Decline In Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Byron York of the Washington Examiner has written a fascinating piece about Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who oversaw the investigation into allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump was investigated for 675 days by Mueller and a team of 19 lawyers. 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.

In his piece, York says members of Team Trump suspected cognitive decline in Mueller, who is now 76 years old — a year younger than former vice president Joe Biden.

The political world was stunned on July 24, 2019, when Trump-Russia special counsel Robert 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.

The Mueller at the witness table was a far cry from the Mueller who took over the FBI 18 years earlier. Colleagues remembered a man who was super sharp, on top of everything, a micromanager. Now, many of those watching were concerned.

“This is delicate to say,” former Obama aide David Axelrod tweeted, “but Mueller, whom I deeply respect, has not publicly testified before Congress in at least six years. And he does not appear as sharp as he was then.”

Mueller’s testimony was indeed a disaster. But Trump’s legal team was not surprised by what they saw. “More than a year earlier, at a meeting in April 2018, the president’s lawyers had gotten a disturbing look at Mueller’s condition. And even before that, they had cause to be concerned about Mueller’s possible cognitive issues and what those problems might mean for the special counsel investigation.”

The meeting took place on April 24, 2018. Rudy Giuliani had just joined Trump’s defense team. Attorney John Dowd had left the team, and two other white-collar defense lawyers, Jane and Marty Raskin, had joined. Given all those changes, it was decided that the new lineup should have a get-acquainted meeting with the Mueller team.

After opening niceties, the conversation turned to a number of legal topics and specifically to the longstanding opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted. It was not an obscure or arcane issue. It was, in fact, perhaps the key legal question in the entire special counsel investigation. 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.

“Bob said, ‘I’ll have to get back to you on that,'” recalled Giuliani, “and it was apparent that he didn’t know what we were talking about.” A Mueller staffer stepped in to cover for the special counsel, assuring the Trump team that the prosecutors knew about the issue and would get back to them. “There were a couple of other little facts that came up — it didn’t seem like he knew about them,” Giuliani remembered, “and [Mueller’s staff] would lean over and tell him.”

That was the last time anyone from Trump’s team had direct contact with Mueller. “Mueller’s staff built a protective wall around him. After that April 2018 meeting, no one from the Trump team could see Mueller or talk to him on the phone. When Trump lawyers called with some concern they wanted to address with Mueller, a top aide would listen, make some notes, and say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.'”


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Thanks for sharing!