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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a sterling career — including the Bronze Star for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam, and a decade as FBI director after 9/11 — Robert Mueller's last turn in the global spotlight will be remembered as a botch.

The big picture: There had been whispers in both parties about his faculties at age 74, and they became a roar yesterday as he stumbled through back-to-back appearances before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Despite the takeaway that Mueller rejected Trump's claim of exoneration, Team Trump savored the former special counsel's halting, faltering performance.

  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, part of the president's legal team, texted:
Once again case falls apart. ...
If Mueller didn’t write report, as his disastrous testimony made clear, who did? ...
This is like a Grade B horror movie 🎥 🍿 with Nadler and Schiff the stars. Remember the hand keeps coming up and you have to bat it down 4 or 5 times. It’s getting easier and may become a satirical comedy. ...
Soon it will be The End and credits will appear.

Several people who have been in D.C. for decades, and have watched Mueller testify before Congress on many occasions, told Axios that the Mueller we saw yesterday was far less sharp and impressive than they remember.

Knowing how it might go, Mueller should have refused, despite Dems' insistence. Realistically, they weren't going to lock him up.

  • When Mueller read his farewell statement at the Justice Department on May 29, without taking questions — closing with a warning about "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election," and saying that "deserves the attention of every American" — he should have let that be his final word.

The big picture: This was 100% political theater and 0% meaningful new substance.

  • Members dominated instead of the witness.
  • The hearings felt like electioneering.
  • Mueller didn't make any major new revelations, instead just nodding when members asked him if what he wrote in his report was correct. 

Go deeper: The 9 big moments from Robert Mueller's House testimony

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Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.