Politics

East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Stars at the Mueller Hearing

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert begins to ripen during his questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert begins to ripen during his questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday. Win McNamee / Getty
Mostly, Wednesday's testimony from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to the U.S. House Intelligence and Judiciary committees came off exactly as one would've suspected. Democratic members of the committees pushed Mueller to make definitive statements about potential crimes committed by President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign and his first two years as president. Republicans focused on conspiracies, perceived bias and moving goalposts, while Mueller did his best to say as little as possible.

It's hard to imagine how the hearing would change the minds of anyone watching, but that doesn't mean those who tuned in wasted their mornings and early afternoons. They have Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert to thank for that.

Gohmert, a back-bencher from East Texas, is perhaps best known for "Gohmert hour," his frequent, lengthy speeches on the House floor. About once a week, after the close of regular House business, Gohmert will go on, and on, about red meat issues like abortion, the border wall or more recently, the conspiracy against Trump's presidency.

Mueller's testimony and Gohmert's spot on the judiciary committee meant that the congressman got to take his arguments from their usual forums — late-night C-SPAN and his YouTube page — to the bright lights of blanket network and cable news coverage.

Gohmert didn't disappoint.

At various points during his five or so minutes questioning the former FBI director and prep-school classmate of the Observer's Jim Schutze, Gohmert introduced an op-ed he wrote for Hannity.com headlined "Mueller Unmasked," into the congressional record, suggested that one can't obstruct justice if one didn't do anything wrong and obsessed over Mueller's relationship with former FBI director James Comey, who, if he isn't the person most responsible for Trump getting elected president, is at least in the top five.  Gohmert, who has spoken on the House floor about the dangers of including same-sex couples in potential space colonies, also lectured Mueller about credibility.

After Mueller refused to answer a question about whether he anticipated investigating Trump's decision to fire Comey when he was appointed special counsel, Gohmert told him why he should have.  "Actually, it goes to your credibility and maybe you've been away from the courtroom for a while. Credibility is always relevant. It's always material and that goes for you, too. You are a witness before us," Gohmert said, picking up steam.  
Mueller, Gohmert yelled, "perpetuated injustice" by hiring a team that hated the president and dragging out his investigation for two years when he knew the president was innocent.

To his credit, Mueller was having none of it.

"I take your question," he said, responding to Gohmert and drawing laughs from the gallery. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young