The Slatest

Who Admired Robert Mueller the Most Today?

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Robert Mueller.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Wednesday.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

During today’s hearings, members of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee had an opportunity to ineffectually beg Robert Mueller to answer their questions. While almost nothing new came out of the seven-hour ordeal, it did present a prime opportunity for representatives from both parties to let the world know just how much they love this country, by letting the former special counsel know just how much they love him.

Because not all displays of bootlicking are created equal (unlike the people of this beautiful country, which we love), we’ve ranked the statements according to raw patriotism and secondhand embarrassment. But more importantly, we’d like to thank you for your faithful past and present readership and your service to Slate.com by being here in this post today. God bless you, and God bless America.

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you for being here. I want to say just a few words about our themes today: responsibility, integrity, and accountability.

Your career, for example, is a model of responsibility.

You are a decorated Marine officer. You were awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor in Vietnam. You served in senior roles at the Department of Justice and, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, you served as director of the FBI.

Two years ago, you returned to public service to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. You conducted that investigation with remarkable integrity.

For 22 months, you never commented in public about your work—even when you were subjected to repeated and grossly unfair personal attacks. Instead, your indictments spoke for you, and in astonishing detail.

Score: Nadler at least had an institutional responsibility, speaking for all the Democrats, to establish their witness’s professional and patriotic credentials. That didn’t stop the rest of them from doing it anyway. 0.5/10 boots licked

Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you for your service to our country.

Score: Deeply uninspired. 1/10 boots licked

Rep. André Carson of Indiana, Democrat:

Thank you, Director Mueller, for your years of service to our country.

Score: Similarly pro forma. 1/10 boots licked

Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Democrat:

Thank you, special counsel Mueller, for your testimony and for your service to our country.

Score: Castro had all day to spice up his adulation. 1/10 boots licked

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you for your devoted service to your country.

Score: Another member who had the entire day to really give it his all, but declined. 1/10 boots licked

Rep. Ted Lieu of California, Democrat:

Thank you, Director Mueller, for your long history of service to our country, including your service as a Marine, where you earned a Bronze Star.

Score: While Lieu added some nice detail, noting Mueller’s history as a troop, he was significantly less flowery in his delivery. 1.5/10 boots licked

Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, Republican:

Hi. I want to start by thanking you for your service. You joined the Marines and led a rifle platoon in Vietnam, where you earned a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and other commendations. You served as an assistant United States attorney leading the homicide unit here in D.C., U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and later the Northern District of California later, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s criminal division, and the FBI director. So thank you. I appreciate that. Having reviewed your biography, it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way you did.

Score: While these boots were licked purely as the setup to an attack, it was still deeply uncomfortable to sit through. 2/10 boots licked

Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Democrat:

First, I’d just like to restate that—Mr. Nadler said about your career. It’s a model of rectitude, and I thank you.

Score: Cohen merely glommed onto someone else’s flattery. Very uninspired. 2/10 boots licked

Rep. Jim Hines of Connecticut, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you for your lifetime of service to this country, and thank you for your perseverance and patience today.

Score: Not creative, but he did make sure to apologize for today’s mistreatment. 2.5/10 boots licked

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you for your service. Going all the way back to the ’60s when you courageously served in Vietnam.

Score: Short, but he did manage to work in courageously. 3/10 boots licked

Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, Republican:

Director Mueller, given your constraints on what you’re able or allowed to answer with respect to counterintelligence matters or other matters that are currently open and under investigation, you’re not going to be able to answer my remaining questions. So I thank you for your courtesies in the answers that you have given to my prior questions, and I do thank you for your extraordinary career and record of service, and I yield the balance of my time to the ranking member. 

Score: Ratcliffe’s fawning may have been an afterthought, but compared to what his Republican colleagues offered, it was a veritable tongue bath. 4/10 boots licked

Rep. Sean Maloney of New York, Democrat:

Mr. Mueller, thank you. I know it’s been a long day, and I want to make clear how much respect I have for your service and for your extraordinary career. And I want you to understand my questions in that context, sir.

Score: Not original, but he did manage to work in both respect and sir. 4.5/10 boots licked

Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, Democrat:

Director, thank you for being here. This too shall pass.

Score: While the words alone barely warrant a ranking at all, in his delivery, Quigley clearly paused for laughter that would never come. Harrowing. 5/10 boots licked

Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Democrat:

Director Mueller, thank you so much for being a person of honor and integrity. Thank you for your service to the nation. We are certainly better for it.

Score: Demings nearly had a winner here, but she missed a prime opportunity for troop respecting. 6/10 boots licked

Rep. Greg Stanton of Arizona, Democrat:

Director Mueller, I’m disappointed that some have questioned your motives throughout this process, and I want to take a moment to remind the American people of who you are and your exemplary service to our country. You are a Marine. You served in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, correct?

Score: Not only does Stanton declare his profound respect for Mueller, but he also takes the opportunity to chastise his conservative colleagues for disrespecting this particular troop. 7/10 boots licked

Rep. Luis Correa of California, Democrat:

Mr. Mueller, first of all, let me welcome you. Thank you for your service to our country. You are a hero, a Vietnam War vet, wounded war vet. We won’t forget your service to our country.

Score: Correa was the first and, I believe, the only member to use the word hero. 8/10 boots licked

Rep. Jackie Speier of California, Democrat:

Mr. Mueller, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that you’re the greatest patriot in this room today. And I want to thank you for being here. 

Score: There’s no way Speier knew the patriotism levels of everyone in that room. 10/10 boots licked