The Brief: Robert Mueller's testimony about his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump administration and Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election has ended... but the memes are just beginning.
Earlier today, former FBI Director, Robert Mueller, faced questions from two separate Congressional committees regarding his investigation into “alleged collusion” between the Trump administration and Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the event was Mueller’s statement that his investigation did not “exonerate” Trump. He affirmed that a president can be charged with crimes after leaving office, which resonated with many, if the Twitter response is anything to go by. The hashtags #MuellerHearings and #MuellerTestimony have been trending on Twitter since early this morning.
Some takeaways from Mueller:
-Trump asked staff to falsify records to hamper investigation
-Trump was “generally” untruthful in responses/didn't answer all Qs
-Trump made “problematic” statements on WikiLeaks
-Russia interfered to help Trump, & Russia et al continue interference
— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) July 24, 2019
While people around the world have been eagerly anticipating the hearings, it’s doubtful that anybody could have predicted the meme gold they’d produce.
The Mueller Hearing in one meme: pic.twitter.com/mZU0pyDGPZ
— ⚜️⚜️ YOUR ALLYSHIP IS UNDER REVIEW⚜️⚜️ (@MzSailiante) July 24, 2019
One Word Answers
Sometimes, less is more. Other times, less is more infuriating.
Anybody watching the televised hearings was quick to pick up on Congress’ frustrated energy. Throughout his questioning, Mueller maintained a quiet attitude (cool or flustered, you decide) which translated through his one to two word responses.
Hearing so far:
Member of Congress, speaking very quickly: “Words words words words words words words words words words words. Is that what the report says??”
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 24, 2019
Many Twitter and Instagram users pointed out Mueller’s approach, some even praising him for it.
View this post on Instagram
Let’s just say it’s getting repetitive. #🎤 #🐶 #mueller #muellerhearings #muellertestimony #hilltopshow #mueller #muellerreport #muellerfunny #georgetownuniversity #georgetown #funny #comedy #politicalcartoon #comedian #politicalcomedy #lateshowwithstephencolbert #lssc #lastweektonight #lastweektonightwithjohnoliver #washingtondc #washington #trump #russiainvestigation #muellerhearings #politicalmemes #politicalmeme
If this Mueller performance had to be summarised in one meme 😂 pic.twitter.com/9rDZtbvyLM
— Spicstradamus (@the1469) July 24, 2019
Some excerpts from the hearings:
Demings: "According to the report, there were follow-up questions because of the president's incomplete answers about the Moscow project. Did the president answer your follow-up questions either in writing or orally?"
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 24, 2019
Schiff says it's unpatriotic to knowingly accept election assistance from a foreign power.
"True," Mueller says.
"And wrong," Schiff says.
"True," Mueller says.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) July 24, 2019
Demings: would you say that some of Trumps answers were not truthful?
— The Campaign Catalyst (@thecampcatalyst) July 24, 2019
This one might be less of a direct quote…
This video from The Daily Show demonstrates Mueller’s soft demeanor when prodded with many questions in a short amount of time:
Damn, Mueller crushed the lightning round pic.twitter.com/4oDnAaaoFw
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) July 24, 2019
Mueller’s one-word responses were a stark contrast to the long-winded questions posed by Rep. Doug Collins. Twitter users put Collins on blast for his rapid-fire questioning technique which proved very ineffective.
Collins finding his rapid-fire performance is difficult to pull off with Mueller because he talks so fast and Mueller is like, I just need you to slow down.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) July 24, 2019
Several people dragged Collins for his fast-paced questions. Even Mueller questioned Collins several times, because he was unable to understand the question being asked
mueller: um dude what
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 24, 2019
"Could you repeat that?" – Robert #MuellerHearings
Doug Collins: pic.twitter.com/v4tncG4Hmm
— Joseph Goulette (@geweyz) July 24, 2019
Doug Collins, an hour ago. pic.twitter.com/hvTe0pzXa2
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 24, 2019
Collins thought he was going to speed-talk Mueller into saying something incriminating. Mueller seemed unbothered. #MuellerHearings
— shauna (@goldengateblond) July 24, 2019
“I Take Your Question”
During his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller’s interaction with Rep. Louie Gohmert resonated with many viewers.
Rep. Gohmert used his allotted five minutes to go off” on Mueller, blatantly loudly accusing him of perpetuating “injustice”. Mueller’s basic response, which has since become the most viral meme to come from the hearings, was, “I take your question.”
— Lolo (@Peacheslolo2) July 24, 2019
Is “I take your question” the new “bless your heart”? #MuellerTime
— Kristine Lucius (@lucius4justice) July 24, 2019
This iteration featuring Keanu Reeves:
"I take your question." pic.twitter.com/eRdvNQMiZr
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 24, 2019
The line, which Mueller repeated at least once more during the hearing, quickly went viral on Twitter. People lauded Mueller for his short, evasive response and memed the heck out of it!
It seems “I take your question” has become the new perfect excuse, similar to how people interpreted “Harm to Ongoing Matter” just months ago.
EDITOR: Where is your story? It was due hours ago!
ME: I take your question
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) July 24, 2019
"I take your question" is a great burn that I don't quite understand but will now adopt whenever anyone yells at me on Twitter. #MuellerHearing
— jon ronson (@jonronson) July 24, 2019
My boss: Where is the report you said you would have for me yesterday?! Are you watching TV?!
Me: I take your question#MuellerHearings
— Yishai Maynard (@Yishai20) July 24, 2019
It might even be the new, “Bye, Felicia”
"I take your question" is the new "Bye Felicia."
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 24, 2019
I “Can’t Get Into That” Because it’s “Outside My Purview”
Mueller’s July 24th testimony marked his 90th appearance before Congress. Within the 7 hours of questioning, the former FBI director deflected or declined to answer questions from lawmakers 198 times.
Just as “Harm to Ongoing Matter” became the meme-able catchphrase from the release of the Mueller Report back in April…
"Harm To Ongoing Matter" would be a good band name. OK, maybe not. But it would be a good *album* name with this cover art. pic.twitter.com/xfA0KhPsNt
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 18, 2019
The phrases, “I Can’t Get into That” and “Outside My Purview” have got Twitter users LOLing from behind their computer screens.
Rep. Demmings (D-FL): What did you determine about the president’s credibility?
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 24, 2019
Mueller asked if the president is credible.
“I can’t answer that question,” Mueller says.
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) July 24, 2019
Considering the fact that Mueller deflected or declined to answer questions posed to him nearly 200 times, it’s impressive that he coined so many ways of saying, “No comment.”
The most popular of these responses were, “I can’t get into that,” “That’s outside my purview,” and some variation of “I’ll refer you to the report.” According to Merriam-Webster, “purview” means “the range or limit of authority, competence, responsibility, concern, or intention.” As far as the “report” goes, Mueller is referring to the Mueller Report which was released to the public on April 18th.
"Can't get into that."
"I'm not gonna get into that."
"That's outside my purview."
"I'll refer you to the report."
"That's what it says in the report. I stand by the report."
"I'll refer you again to the report."#MuellerDay
— Kristine Phillips (@kristinegWP) July 24, 2019
robert “per my previous email” mueller
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) July 24, 2019
"Can't get into that" pic.twitter.com/hUOpNfXGj5
— crazy broke asian (@tribranchvo) July 24, 2019
A: I can’t get into that.
Q: Lot of things you can’t get into! A little bucket, a tiny door, a tunnel designed for ants!
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) July 24, 2019
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Let’s just say it’s getting repetitive. #🎤 #🐶 #mueller #muellerhearings #muellertestimony #hilltopshow #mueller #muellerreport #muellertime #georgetownuniversity #georgetown #funny #comedy #politicalcartoon #comedian #politicalcomedy #lateshowwithstephencolbert #lssc #lastweektonight #lastweektonightwithjohnoliver #washingtondc #washington #trump #russiainvestigation #muellerhearings #politicalmemes #politicalmeme
Thoughts are with anyone who had “I would refer you to the report” in a Mueller drinking game.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) July 24, 2019
One Twitter user called for a Real Housewives meme mash-up…
Bob Mueller should have walked into the hearing with the Nene Leakes "I said what I said" GIF taped over his face.
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) July 24, 2019
And someone else was quick to oblige.
“Refer to the report “ pic.twitter.com/rzSUCsQKdx
— KING R/.\🖤RN, MSNI (@MRNurse27th) July 24, 2019
Several people found comfort in song lyrics, fictional or otherwise.
— Esther Ciammachilli (@EstherCinDC) July 24, 2019
i want to go
outside my purview
oh, to defy
this mental curfew
I want to know
what it's like to staaaaate
that I deny
— Glen Weldon (@ghweldon) July 24, 2019
Great band → Outside My Purview #MuellerHearings
— David Gura (@davidgura) July 24, 2019
Wife: "Can you bring in the groceries?"
Me: "That's beyond my purview."
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 24, 2019
me: "I'm going to refer you to the report"
me: "it's outside my purview"
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) July 24, 2019
Robert Mueller, age 8
"Did you take the cookies?"
"Mom I'll refer you to the report"
"We have evidence you took several cookies"
"That's out of my purview, Mom"
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 24, 2019
This meme incorporates all of the best Mueller quotes:
*pulls up to drive thru*
Wendy's: "What can I get for you today?"
Mueller: "I can't get into that."
Wendy's: "You can't get into what?"
Mueller: "It's in my report."
Wendy's: "What report?"
Mueller: "I take your question."
Wendy's: "Sir, this is a Wendy's."
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 24, 2019
When Mueller accidentally referred to President Trump as “Trimp”, it goes without saying that his hilarious slip-up soon became a meme.
Me: Logs onto Twitter & sees #Trimp trending
Also me: pic.twitter.com/oDsaS2MjQ3
— ❣Kerri Stewart❣ (@Naya2000) July 24, 2019
— KanMo_unicorn (@mInDisguisetho) July 24, 2019
A meme is born:#trimp
— jeremy gray (@_jeremygray) July 24, 2019
— David Menzie (@dmenzie1) July 24, 2019
While several people commented on the similarities between “Trimp” and shrimp…
— Kelly Wagner (@kellblossom) July 24, 2019
— Richie Palombo (@space_cowboy32) July 24, 2019
Trump + Shrimp = Trimp pic.twitter.com/4eZtii0jyC
— Cali Verb (@Cali_Verb) July 24, 2019
"There's #Trimp gumbo. There's pineapple Trimp, lemon Trimp, coconut Trimp, pepper Trimp, Trimp soup, Trimp stew, Trimp salad, Trimp burger, Trimp sandwich…
That's all you can do with Trimp…"
— Mo Fei Chen (@DynaMoChen) July 24, 2019
There were also multiple mentions of “blimps”, too.
— shortandsweet (@fiveonesowhat) July 24, 2019
— CherylAnn$mithHolland (@cash4comedy) July 24, 2019
And at least, one Pimp My Ride throwback:
— EmmanuelZechariahZechipaul (@zechipaul) July 24, 2019
— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) July 24, 2019
— Rachael (@PirateSmile7) July 24, 2019
Someone even created a Twitter account for President Trimp:
Can we get this trending lol #Trimp2020 😂😂😂😂😂
— President Trimp (@president_trimp) July 24, 2019
Miscellaneous Mueller-Related Memes
A new Me and the Boys meme?
This Distracted Boyfriend meme:
Compare how 'the resistance' has been portraying Mueller for the past 2 years to his actual performance today. pic.twitter.com/N13tDAhXOz
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) July 24, 2019
It’s nice that Mueller is getting to read the Mueller report for the first time.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) July 24, 2019