For months, congressional Democrats have been calling on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify about his Russia probe. On Wednesday, July 24, Mueller finally acquiesced to these requests by delivering back-to-back testimonies before two House committees. At some moments, Mueller seemed confident, but at others, he appeared to stumble. During one now-viral moment, the former special counsel accidentally referred to President Donald Trump as "Trimp." Now, these "Trimp" memes about Robert Mueller's testimony to Congress are making their way around social media.
Mueller started off his morning by testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, making it one of two testimony sessions scheduled on Wednesday. As part of this hearing, lawmakers asked Mueller questions about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in order to determine whether or not Trump had obstructed justice in any way. During one moment that social media users have already widely circulated, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Mueller, "Did your investigation find that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning?"
"Yes," Mueller replied.
"And which candidate would that be?" Lofgren asked.
"Well, it would be Trimp — uh, Trump," Mueller said.
Mueller quickly corrected his mispronunciation of the president's name, but social media users were equally quick to notice his misstep. You can watch a video of this particular moment below:
After this moment in Mueller's testimony went viral, Twitter users created a variety of memes joking about "Trimp."
As the above tweets illustrate, "Trimp" quickly became a popular portmanteau, prompting a hilarious series of memes and GIFs. But Mueller's mispronunciation of the president's last name wasn't the only significant moment of his testimony. At the beginning of Mueller's House Judiciary Committee hearing, committee chairman Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller whether the Russia probe had completely exonerated Trump.
“The finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller said. Mueller's report, which was released in a redacted form on April 18, found that the Trump 2016 campaign had not cooperated or coordinated with Russia, but that the campaign had expected to benefit from Russian election meddling. On obstruction of justice, Mueller declined to reach a conclusion, noting that Department of Justice (DOJ) policy under the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) prohibited indicting a sitting president, and that his investigation had therefore avoided an approach "that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes." However, he also noted in the report that if investigators were confident the president had not committed obstruction of justice, they would say so. "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," the report said. The White House did not previously respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on details alleged in the report.
As Nadler then pointed out July 24, the president has repeatedly insisted the Mueller report completely cleared him of wrongdoing. According to The Hill, Trump has described Mueller's Russia probe as an "illegal takedown that failed," and subsequently argued that it had granted him "complete and total exoneration." Mueller's testimony before the Judiciary Committee directly contradicted the president's claims.
But that's not all Mueller said. During the hearing, Rep. Ken Buck — a Republican from Colorado — tried to catch Mueller in a lie by asking him why he hadn't been able to conclude whether or not Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation. Mueller explained that he could not have accused the president of obstructing justice because a sitting president can't be charged with a crime — but that didn't protect him once he left office.
“Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?” Buck asked.
“Yes,” Mueller responded, without missing a beat.
“You believe that he committed — you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?” Buck asked again.
“Yes,” Mueller said.
This is the first time Mueller has gone on the record to say that Trump could be charged after leaving office. This claim has already made waves in Washington, The Guardian reported, especially because Mueller was so reluctant to testify in the first place. From calling the president "Trimp" and making it clear that his report had not exonerated Trump, Mueller's testimony was littered with significant revelations that Democratic lawmakers may use to push back against the president.
Just when you think this drama is done, it sucks you back in. Oh, politics, never change (or do).