In 1979, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was released in theaters, and I remember an exchange of dialogue between Mr. Spock and Ilia regarding an old Earth probe that had fallen into a mammoth machine planet's gravitational field.

As it turned out, the planet and probe had merged, and some sort of metamorphosis had taken place in which this entity began asking questions about the purpose of its own existence. Mr. Spock asks Ilia, "Who is the creator?" Ilia: "The creator is that which created V'ger." Spock: "Who is V'ger?" Ilia: "V'ger is that which seeks the creator."

Last Wednesday, as Robert Mueller answered questions before the House Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees, there might have been some who were disappointed that the testimony did not necessarily shed any new light on the 448-page redacted report. Those who have not read the report may have tuned in to get a full summary on just what Mueller's probe had uncovered about the investigation into collusion, as well as obstruction of justice. The GOP lawmakers pulled out all the stops to discredit Mueller, and the Trump supporters insisting it was a clean campaign with no obstruction may see this as some kind of vindication. And some might see vindication because of the way in which Mueller responded to the questioning.

Mueller's answers were devoid of any type of narrative that would have galvanized the Democratic Party to implement impeachment proceedings. Mueller deferred or declined to answer questions at least 111 times, and there were some one-word answers that at times seemed a little constrained. And while it is true that Mueller's testimony resonated in somewhat of a contrast to his morning testimony, the GOP was not sold on the idea that President Trump obstructed or even attempted to obstruct justice. The question is, was this really a vindication like the president claimed?

A few months earlier, Attorney General William Barr released his version of the Mueller Report, which was an obfuscation of the facts. Remember that Barr, with razor-sharp clarity, spoke of the difference between ordering the removal of Mueller, predicated on the replacement with another counsel, and firing Mueller to end the probe. According to Mueller, Trump was concerned when the Washington Post, on June 14, 2017, reported the special counsel was inquiring into obstruction. And while the attempt by Trump to remove Mueller was not as successful as President Nixon's 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre," the information contained in the Mueller Report indicates the lengths Trump was willing to go to not only impede, but also to restructure the counsel's mandate to only investigating foreign meddling for future elections.

Mueller said at one point that "I am not going to go into the details of the report along those lines" when asked about Trump's business connections to Russia. There were numerous times where Mueller referred to the information contained within his report. The GOP did not "stump" Mueller or make him look bad at all, yet that is what the MAGA base would have us think.

Mueller did an admirable job of investigating the matters of collusion and obstruction with an absence of partisanship, and never alluded to any particular matter he felt would justify impeachment. Mueller gave simple, clear and concise answers that should not have confused nor raised any new questions regarding collusion or obstruction. Mueller spoke of the capability to accomplish the task, and he oversaw this probe with rectitude.

In the final analysis, if you did not watch the hearings, then read the Mueller Report, and realize the GOP did nothing to successfully discredit Robert Mueller.

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with a special emphasis on civics and history.

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