Robert Mueller: A reluctant witness

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller: A reluctant witness

Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017 as special counsel to investigate links between the Russian government and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.Ever since Mueller has been talked about a lot in American politics. For more than two years, voters and leaders alike have been waiting to hear him speak. In the congressional hearing, Mueller expressed reticence, he was not a dominant presence.


Throughout his examination from both sides, Robert Mueller was polite but not assertive. “This seems consistent with Mueller’s initial unwillingness to testify, and his reluctance to elaborate on his report,” says Laura Dudley, a behaviour analyst at Northeastern University. Mueller preferred to keep his answers simple and limited to “yes”, “no” or “correct” whenever possible. He urged the members of Congress to refer to the details as written in his 736-page report.


“When asked more complex questions, Mueller’s response was less emphatic and his speech was less polished,” says Dudley, who is also an associate clinical professor at the university who specialises in body language. “At times he stuttered or seemed to struggle to get his words out, particularly when congressmen asked him to confirm or deny data from his report, or when they rephrased portions of his report and asked him if the rephrasing was correct. “At those points, Mueller would often stutter, ask for the person to repeat the question, or even answer one way and then change his answer after thinking about the question for a moment.”


He was so soft-spoken that the audience in the hearing room had difficulty to make sense of some of his answers. Mueller had warned that he would not be drawn into the political repercussions of his report. When he was questioned by Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, who were Mueller’s most aggressive inquisitors, he seemed to lean away from them, otherwise, he sat upright throughout the testimony. Mueller wished for his report to do the talking for him.


Mayuri Talgaonkar

mayuri talgaonkar

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